A tiny slice of my life

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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oh What A Week . . .

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Well I have been out of action playing Nurse, not the image of suspenders & high heels, but scrubbing clothes and toilets. Also running backwards and forwards tending to my patients.

We have had a form of gastro go through the house and so far I have managed to keeps the germs at bay, probably by constant use of hand sterilizer, which is making the skin on my hands very dry.

So there hasn't been any cooking only making of gastroade and dishing out of nausea gastro stop tablets.

One bright spot in the week was I have sold another quilt, so of to Spotlight I went to get more batting so I can complete another quilt to sell.

On the baby sewing front Miss Le Coiffure and I managed to get some cot sheets sewn on Monday, before the bug hit her and Mr CLI.

So till tomorrow and hopefully a patient free house.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Parmesan Crusted Chicken & Spicy Wedges

Now these chicken and wedges are quite simple to make but the results are quite scrumptious.

The topping for the chicken is only 2 ingredients panko crumbs and grated fresh Parmesan cheese and the coating for the wedges is oil with spices added.

They both cook in the oven for the same amount of time, so can be popped in the oven and only touched half way through cooking to turn the wedges.

I served this with my honey and mustard dressing.

Parmesan Chicken
3 chicken breasts cut into strips a bit bigger than tenderloin size, 2 eggs , 2 cups panko crumbs, 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 200.c. Line  a baking tray with tin foil or baking paper, put a cake rack on top this will allow the heat to flow around the chicken to crisp both sides.

In a small bowl using a fork beat together the eggs, on a plate mix together the crumbs and cheese.

Dip the chicken pieces in the egg, making sure you wipe off excess egg, roll in the crumbs and place onto the rack.

Place into the oven on the top rack. Cook 45 mins.

Spicy Wedges
4 - 5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges, 3 tbsps olive oil, 2 tsps paprika sweet. hot or smoked, 2 tsps ground cumin, 2 tsps celery salt, 1/2 - 1 tsp chilli powder

Line a tray with baking paper. Spread out wedges. In a small bowl mix together oil and spices, pour over wedges, using your hands mix them together making sure that all wedges are covered spread out in 1 layer.

Bake 45 minutes - 1 hour, turning once halfway through cooking.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spaghetti Carbonara

Well another week has slipped by, what with sewing and several trips to the shops this week went by like a a fast train.

I did manage to cook some different meals this week. So I have photos and recipes to write about.

Now my carbonara doesn't have any cream nor big chunks of onions like you get when you eat out.

This is the true Italian way of making it by using the eggs and grated Parmesan to form the sauce.

As this recipe doesn't have a lot of ingredients if you can use the best ones you can afford it makes all the difference.

For the eggs I am a bit lucky that Miss Fish has chooks at her work so the eggs I use are very fresh and the yolks are bright yellow. Also make sure you use a good quality fresh Parmesan for the sauce.

Now its up to you if you add the chopped parsley, I use it if I have some otherwise I make it without.

This is a good store cupboard recipe because if you have some bacon in your freezer and we all usually have some form of pasta in out pantry as well as Parmesan and eggs.

The recipe only takes as long as it takes to cook the pasta. So it is another quick recipe that you can cook if you have unexpected guests staying for a meal.

Now don't be mean with the amount of Parmesan you use as you need plenty to form the sauce with the eggs.

This recipe is enough for 4 generous serves.

Spaghetti Carbonara
4 eggs, 6 rashers of bacon rind removed and cut into 2cm pieces, 2 tbsps finely chopped fresh parsley, 1 cup grated Parmesan, plenty of freshly ground black pepper. 2 cloves garlic grated, 1 packet of spaghetti spaghetti

In a large saucepan bring water to the boil. Once boiling add salt and spaghetti, stir to ensure the pasta has separated. Cook till al dente.

While the pasta is cooking heat a frypan and add the bacon cook, stirring frequently till the bacon is crispy around the edges but still soft in the middle. Remove the frypan from heat and stir in the garlic.

In a small bowl whisk the eggs with a fork add 1 tsp grated pepper, stir in Parmesan and parsley.

This is not a recipe to be mean with the amount of Parmesan, if you don't use enough the eggs have a tendency to scramble as you are tossing them through the hot pasta.

You need enough to make to eggs for a thick almost paste like consistency.

Leave the bacon in the frypan because that is were you are going to combine the pasta.

When the pasta is cooked you will need to work quickly.

Drain it in a colander then tip into the frypan, using tongs toss the pasta to coat it with the bacon, garlic and bacon juice. Pour over the eggs and toss till a sauce forms over the spaghetti.

You may need more pepper or Parmesan.

Serve with extra Parmesan grated over the top. Once you have tasted it you will find that you go back for a second bowl full.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sun Dried Tomato & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast with a Caper & Lemon Sauce

Well what a busy weekend, I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.

Here it was nice enough for us to have BBQ lunches on both days and sit outside under our pergola.

Miss Fish loves it when we can do that as we have a sink and fridge and all the necessary cutlery/crockery outside. She enjoys setting the table and doing the dishes afterwards.

As well as sitting outside Mr CLI & I managed to get a lot of little and some big jobs done outside that had been sidelined in previous weeks.

So even though we were both tired at the end of each day we were very satisfied with our achievements.

Now during all this busyness I managed to invent and cook this meal. Mr CLI after only one mouthful commented that it was beautiful and he would happily eat it again. I must admit I was pretty impressed with the flavour of the chicken.

It was quite a simple filling with only 3 ingredients, but as the were quite flavourful this chicken was not only tender but full of flavour.

Now you don't really need the sauce but as it takes only about 1 minute to make and adds extra flavour it isn't a big hardship.

Also the ingredients for the filling and sauce can be kept in your pantry and fridge so that at anytime you can make this meal.

I served mine with mashed potato which I think goes the best as you can mop up the sauce with it I also did my sauteed brussel sprouts and steamed carrots, also for Mr CLI & Miss Fish I made mashed pumpkin.

Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast with a Lemon & Caper Sauce
1 small chicken breast per person or 2 large was enough for 3 people, the quantities for filling is for 3 serves - sun dried tomato pesto, 2 tbsps semi sun dried tomato, chopped into 1 cm pieces, 2 tbsps crumbled feta (I used a marinated one in a jar)

1/4 plain flour for dusting the chicken

Sauce - 2 tbsps lemon juice ( I used my bottle lemon juice) 1 dessertspoon of capers rinsed and chopped finely, 1 tbsps chopped fresh herb (I used oregano, you could use parsley or basil) 1 tbsp butter

In a small bowl mix together the sun dried tomatoes and feta.

On a chopping board slice the chicken breast down the length and half way in DON'T cut all the way. We want to open it out flat to be able to spread the stuffing. Using a meat mallet flatten till even thickness and 1/2 cm thick. If using a large breast you should be able to cut of the tenderloin with a bit of the breast to make 1 large and 1 small parcel.

Using about 1 tsp of pesto spread it over the surface of the chicken the add a third of the filling down the length of 1 half. Fold the other half over to form a parcel. Repeat with the other chicken fillets.

Heat 4 tbsps olive oil & 1 tbsp of butter in a frypan. Dust both sides of the chicken parcels with plain flour. When the butter starts to sizzle place the chicken in reduce heat to medium. Cook the first side till brown and crispy approx 4 minutes. Turn and continue to cook till brown and crispy and the chicken is cooked approx 3 - 4 minutes.

When the chicken is nearly cooked dish up you accompanying vegetables. Place the cooked chicken on the plate. Add the sauce ingredients to the frypan. Stir until bubbling 30 secs - 1 minute. Remove from the heat immediately and pour over the chicken.

I hope you try this recipe it is not only yummy but very easy to make.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Well its Friday and Apple Tea Cake

Well another week has gone and where did it go, in my case in a blur of trips into town and sitting in different Doctors rooms waiting to be seen.

Also more baby things I thought I might have a bit of show and tell on what Miss Le Coiffure and I have been sewing, she is my ironing and cutting girl.

The first cot quilt now finished with aqua binding.

The reason I bought this one was because it had owls and frogs to things that are in the theme of baby things.

This was bought before we knew what sex the baby was.

A selection of the bibs we have made.

Nappy Bag Number 1 !

Number 2 is still being made.

Link to the instructions


One of the baby blankets.

This was made before we knew bubby is a girl, but who is to say that she won't like cute little elephants and penguins.

Now to the apple cake. My girls when they went to school and even now for Miss Fishes "work", they always take a cake with them on the day of their birthday.

Now this year Miss Fish wanted a pool cake which had lots of elements so to make it easy for myself and also make something a bit healthy lol  that wasn't covered in icing I used a packet mix and turned it into an apple tea cake.

Now you can add the apple topping to any butter cake mix packet or hand made, it will still give you a lovely cake to eat warm for afternoon tea.

 This is the packet mix I used.

Apple Tea Cake
1 packet cake mix or 1 amount of cake mixture for a basic butter cake, 2 - 4 apples sliced thinly I used a mandolin and also left the skin on because the slices were so thin, 2 tbsps caster sugar mixed together with 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180.c or temperature on packet. Grease and flour one 22 cm springform tin.

Make cake as per packet/recipe instructions. Place into cake tin and smooth the surface even.

Place apple slices onto top forming a pretty pattern and ensuring that the cake is covered.

Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mix over the top.

Bake as per instructions or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven, sit on a cake rake, unclip and release sleeve of the cake tin.

Once cooled remove base carefully. Eat and enjoy.

Well till next week ...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Goodness Its Tuesday and Caramel Dumplings

Well Monday disappeared again I didn't even get to my emails till 5 pm last night !

This recipe is one from my old Women's Weekly cookbook from my home eco classes at High School. As always I have altered the recipe to produce more caramel sauce.

You need lots of sauce and then the dumplings swimming  in cold cream.

As you can see by the photo they aren't the most pretty thing but they sure are absolutely scrumptious.

They are light and fluffy inside with a thick caramel sauce.

Not only are they yummy but they are also quite easy to make.

In a large saucepan you bring all the sauce ingredients to the boil, while you are doing that you mix together the dumplings then drop balls of dough into the sauce, clamp a lid on, reduce the heat and wait 20 minutes till your yummy dessert is ready.

Caramel Dumplings

Dumplings - 2 1/2 cups SR flour, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 cup caster sugar, 3/4 - 1 cup milk

Mix together in a large bowl the flour, vanilla and sugar, add enough to milk to form a soft dough that can be rolled into balls.

Roll the dough into golf ball size balls and drop into the sauce.

Sauce - 60 gms butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to the boil.

When boiling add dumplings , reduce heat to medium.

 Put on a lid cook for 20 minutes.

Serve and enjoy !

Friday, May 11, 2012

Just Popping In

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Just a short note I made caramel dumplings last night and will post he recipe on Monday. I am just resting today as I have been struck by a migraine.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mothers Day on Sunday and enjoy getting spoilt or if you aren't a Mum spoiling yur n Mum.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Little Things are Happening

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What little things well, baby sized little things. I have finished the first cot quilt using a bought panel featuring a frog, owl, little birds. I bought it before we knew that Miss Le Coiffure was having a girl, but it is the colors that she likes.

Miss Le Coiffure and I spent Monday cutting out nappies yes you sew nappies nowadays. So I have bought a very large cane basket to store our sewing til it is completed and Miss Le Coiffure can take them home.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

Now a red velvet cake has been on my to bake list for sometime so on thee weekend when I got the urge to bake I decided to make these.

I also pulled out all the stops I used my special cupcake cases that I had been saving for a "special" day.

Normally these have a cream cheese frosting, but as I didn't have any in the fridge and I couldn't be bothered to drive into town I made a chocolate ganache. which to be honest just made these cupcakes all the more delectable.

Mr CLI loooooooooved them and could have quite easily eaten all of them in one go. Miss Fish also requested that I make them again.

I didn't have red food coloring so I used mu winton pink coloring you still got the effect of the red velvet but the color was more subdued.

If you don't wish to use food coloring you can still make these but they will be chocolate in color. The taste and texture of these is very similar to a devils food cake. all dense and moist.

Most recipes state to use dutch cocoa which I did, I think it would still work with normal cocoa but you would need to use more for the deep chocolate color.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
1/4 cup butter softened, 1 1/2 cups caster sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp red food coloring gel, 2 heaped tbsps dutch cocoa, 1 cup buttermilk or greek yogurt, 2 1/4 cups SR flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp white vinegar and 1 tsp bi-carb soda

Chocolate Ganache
100gms chocolate. 1/4 cup cream & 1 tsp instant coffee powder

In a glass bowl over simmering water place all ingredients and when the chocolate starts to melt stir until all the chocolate has melted and it is smooth. Ice cakes while ganache is hot. Then leave to set.

Preheat oven to 180.c and line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper cups.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Mix together the buttermilk/yogurt with the food coloring.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer. Beat together until soft and creamy 3- 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla, mix in.

On low speed and the flour and buttermilk/yogurt alternatively, starting and finishing with the flour (IE 3 parts flour + 2 parts buttermilk).

When mixed together remove from the machine stir the bi-carb into the vinegar add immediately to the mixture and using a spatula mix together.

Using a large spoon place equal amounts into all cases.

Bakes 15 - 18 minutes until cooked or a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven when cool enough to handle place onto a cake rack. Once cold drizzle with hot ganache. Top with any decoration you wish.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cardamom Rice Pilaf and Other News

Question - What do you get when you combine a pregnant daughter and a sewing machine.

Answer - No blog no emails read and lots of sewing.

As shown in this photo Miss Le Coiffure and I are making a lot of things for her not here yet baby.

The happy event will be in September and she just found out last week she is expecting a


So there has been lots of sewing going on, we have made enough bibs to last till Christmas and now we are onto what is called "New Modern Cloth Nappies" which are like little pants that you slip a folded insert into to absorb all the moisture. 

Now these are made with special microfibre fleece on the inside very soft for the little bottom and the insert is from cotton/bamboo fabric which is all the rage at the moment.

After a quick search on the Internet there are plenty of online shops selling all the items required to make them.

So yesterday was spent cutting out all the various pieces. Also a trip to Spotlight and Lincraft was on the cards and by happy chance last Friday both shops got in new orders of polar fleece perfect for a girl. so there are more blanket making on the horizon.

Cardamom Rice Pilaf

This is my all time easy pilaf that is cooked in the oven and always comes out lovely and fluffy.

300 gms jasmine rice, 800 mls boiling water, 5 cardamom pods using a rolling pin or pestle break pods, 2 cloves , 1 cinnamon stick

Preheat oven 180.c

Heat 2 tbsps of oil in an ovenproof dish approx 25 cm wide and 5 cm deep with a lid. Add spices cook until 30 seconds.

Add water the stir in the rice. Bring to the boil, cover with tin foil or baking paper then put on the lid.

Cook for 25 minutes. Remove lid and paper/foil and check rice should be cooked and fluffy.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Moroccan Chicken with Potato and Beans

Now I love Moroccan food, the melding of flavours using herbs and spices. One of my "Bucket List" holiday destinations is Morocco, I would probably need to win Tattslotto to get there but we can always dream.

I take great enjoyment out of pounding garlic and herbs in my mortar and pestle then gently mixing them with juice and olive oil to create a flavourful chemoula.

This recipe is quite easy and you can also substitute fish for the chicken and you could add 1cm slices of capsicum instead or as well as the beans.

I served this with my cardamom rice pilaf. I will post that recipe another day.

Moroccan Chicken
2 tbsps olive oil, 2 tbsps lemon juice, 2 tsps each ground cumin and coriander, 2 garlic cloves grated

In a small bowl mix all ingredients together.

1/2 cup water, 2 tbsps tomato paste, 1 tsp sweet paprika, plain  or smoked , 2 tsps sugar

In another small bowl or jug whisk all the ingredients together

3 chickens fillets skin removed and sliced into 3 or 4 pieces the length of the fillet, 250 grams potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 cm slices, 250 gms green beans topped and tailed and cut into half width wise

Preheat oven 200.c

In a 5 cm deep baking dish large enough for you to place the chicken in one layer. Place the chicken flat then pour over the chemoula. Top with potato slices then the beans and capsicum if you are using. Pour over the sauce, cover and bake 40 - 50 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.

Serve with rice and pour over some of the sauce.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Plum Clafouti

Now this is a very simple recipe that can be in the oven within 10 minutes.

You can use any fresh of tinned fruit for the clafouti. As I have mentioned before Miss Fish helps out at a food bank and part of her "pay" is a bag of the food. As a consequence I have a pantry overflowing with tinned fruit.

So for this I used two large tins of plums, as they were whole I had to remove the stones as a consequence the fruit broke up, but it didn't affect the flavour.

Fruit Clafouti
2 large tins of drained fruit or enough fresh fruit stones removed and cut in half to cover the base of your pie dish

1 x 20cm pie dish + extra caster sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven 180.c

clafouti - 1 1/4 cups milk, 1/3 cup caster sugar. 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 cup SR flour

Place all ingredients in a food processor, process for 1 minute pour over fruit. Bake for 20 minutes then sprinkle with extra caster sugar, continue to bake for further 30 - 40 minutes or until cooked.

Serve with cream or ice cream.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The painting is nearly Over

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Well we have just about finished Miss Fishes roo her bed is back in her room as well as her tall boy and chest of draws.

There is still tape around her window and no curtains or her blind back yet.

As Mr CLI is back at work I will have to wait until he can put them back.

Does Miss Fish love her room, well yes she does, she goes in there and checks it out but even though her bed is made she is still choosing to sleep in the spare bedroom.

I haven't got o the bottom of that also I still have to paint her mural yet, that is this weekends project. When it is finished I will post photos.

Until tomorrow adious.