Damn…It’s hot!!!

Spicy BBQ Chicken & Lamb Chops

39C people! Melbourne is hot today! Tomorrow it’s going to get a lot cooler and it will rain…love Melbourne weather – keeps you on your toes!

Tried to keep the kidlets cool this afternoon in class. Poor  little 12 – 13 yr olds who had forgotten their water bottles and were a little exhausted after being stuck outside in the blistering heat! I had an unusual feeling of the maternal kind towards these little suckers! So, I refilled water bottles (for the kids who had remembered to bring one) from the water cooler in our staffroom and turned the air con on during lunchtime, so by the time we came into our room it was nice and cool and then organised a dvd for them to watch – Ice Age 4 – trying to keep them cool…of course it suited me rather well too!

Sometimes school life just needs to be as easy as that, especially on days like today…for both the kidlets and me!

Life should be easy on a hot night like tonight too and there’s nothing like a BBQ to make life easy, relaxed and very fine indeed! It helps that my obsession with food means that most of my meat is marinated before it goes into the freezer (I have posted about this before) which makes everything not just easy but incredibly succulent and tasty!

Tomatoes are the best things ever!

I had marinated chicken tenderloins and lamb chops in the freezer so I pulled them out last night and they had defrosted nicely and were waiting patiently in the fridge for me to get home and  place them on the BBQ for dinner. They were very well behaved pieces of meat! All I had to do was make a salad…easy peasy folks!

I had used the same marinade for both meats and it was awesomely spicy and tangy 🙂 I cannot remember quantities as I did this before I froze the meat a couple of weeks ago. This marinade goes beautifully with seafood too!

Marinade

lemon grass

garlic

ginger

chilli paste

shaoxing wine

lime juice

fish sauce

sesame oil

galangal

Awesome flavours!!!  Awesome taste!!! Succulent and perfect on a balmy night 🙂

Went down a treat with my Pomegranate Vodka!

This is what life is all about

I Got a New Phone!

Baileys Irish Cream Mousse

Last week I finally had enough of my Blackberry, so when my phone company advised me that I could now upgrade, I decided to go back to the IPhone!

I had an IPhone 3 a few years back and it gave me so much grief that I just stopped using it and kept using my old Samsung, which was a great phone until I got the blackberry…which is utter crap!!!

I love my Macbook Pro but hated the IPhone but the new Samsung phone was too big for my hand…couldn’t hold the bloody thing (who has hands that big?)…so, decided on the IPhone 5…why is this a big deal? It’s a big deal for me because my photos are so much better…I was determined not to use Instagram, because everyone was using it, but it really is a great photo app. I also use a few other photo apps and that’s what’s great about this phone…all my favourite apps in one fun place.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a very simple ice cream recipe using double cream and sweetened condensed milk. I did say you could eat it straight away and not bother freezing it…just chill it in the fridge for a while and you have an amazing mousse like dessert.

Which is exactly what I did a few nights ago when a friend called close to 9pm and said he was dropping by for coffee. It took 5 mins to make and by the time our friend arrived and we went through the usual ‘how are you’ stuff, the ‘mousse’ was nicely chilled and ready to eat. It was pretty damn tasty and I love the photo 🙂

Ingredients

300ml double cream

175ml sweetened condensed milk

2 – 3 tbsps Baileys Irish Cream

1 tbspn vanilla extract

Good Dark Chocolate for grating over the top

Method

Place all ingredients (except chocolate) in your mix master thingy and whip until nice and thick but not butter.

Spoon into bowls or glasses (whatever you like) and top with grated chocolate.

 

Salmon without Calamari…

Salmon with Bok Choy and Mushrooms

When I make Salmon, I also have to make Calamari rings for my daughter because she hates Salmon. Well, actually I think I did too when I was her age so hopefully she will grow out of it and come to love Salmon as much as I do…which is lots!!!

As she is off hiking (hahaha! refer to my last post to understand why this is funny!) I jumped at the opportunity at making one of my favourite meals. Salmon with bok choy and mushrooms with a shaoxing wine, sesame oil and oyster sauce dressing…so awesome!

Of course it’s a Nigella Lawson recipe but I add the Shaoxing Wine and leave out the Soy.

This is calming food for me…mellow and restorative and after being called an ‘effn bitch’ today at work by a rather  disturbed 15 year old boy I don’t even know, calm was something I was in desperate need of…my mantra “must not punch the children” was working overtime…

Anyway he was suspended from school and I had Salmon for dinner…don’t really know who was the biggest winner here – he gets a couple of days off school after all…

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets…the best you can get

1 clove chopped garlic

peanut oil

whatever mushrooms you like (shiitake mushrooms go well with this but I couldn’t find any today)

bunch of bok choy…chopped and stems separated from leaves

3 – 4 tbsps shaoxing wine

3 tbsps oyster sauce

little splash of sesame oil

pepper

Method

Cook the salmon fillets — preferably in a good nonstick pan or on a grill plate — over medium-high heat until just cooked through, and remove them to warmed plates.

In a heavy-based pan, fry the garlic in the oil. Add the sliced mushrooms together with the bok choy stalks, stirring everything together for a few minutes. Cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, then remove the lid and add the roughly chopped bok choy leaves, oyster sauce, shaoxing wine and sesame oil. Let cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the leaves have wilted.

Pile the mushrooms and greens on the plates with the salmon, add pepper to taste, and enjoy…truly love this!

Effn wonderful…

 

 

Warehouse Kitchenware Shopping

My new kitchen beauties!

I’ve been shopping!

Christmas Tree Cake Tin for my Ice Cream Cake for Christmas Day

Apart from the usual shoe shopping (my other obsession) I have been popping in and out of kitchenware warehouse sales around Melbourne.

The weekend before last Jan and I needed 2 men (no, not in that way!) with 2 trolleys to make 2 trips each back and forth to the car to help us load up our new buys.

New glassware, serving bowls, platters and various other kitchen accoutrements in reds and other funky colours. All my dinner sets are white…white plates, bowls, cups, saucers, mugs and platters so I thought it was time to inject some colour into my kitchen thingys and breath some funky life into it.

Here’s a snippet of what I bought…

sexy scales!

 

Can’t wait for the girls to come over and fill this 6 litre baby!

 

Funky Cheese Knives…love these babies!

Get your hiking boots girl…

Really nice steak for dinner

I don’t even think this has a name.

I was using up stuff from my fridge that were beginning to look a little less than fresh.

Believe it or not I didn’t go food shopping over the weekend…went clothes shopping Saturday morning and had every intention to food shop after that and by that I mean after clothes shopping and coffee and scones with jam and cream with a friend.

Getting back to my car my friend pointed out that my car was missing something very important…license plates! WTF!!!

A visit to the Police Station and a Police report later and that was the end of my day! The thought of some ass wipe committing a crime with my license plate on some car they’ve stolen and trying to pin the blame on me…well…may fleas and other nasties infest your nether regions and set up camp forever you effn f@*#er!!!

It was hot and humid and my arse was not going anywhere after all that! Even the idea of finally picking up my Spanish white anchovies wasn’t enough to motivate me such was my black mood.

Sorry, crazy mood over…and then it was a new day!

A beautiful day yesterday saw us out for lunch by the bay in Williamstown and then a long drive to Daylesford to peruse the local antique shops and galleries and a rather luke warm, vomit inducing ‘iced’ chocolate..horrible! I only felt better when I walked into an actual real book store with actual real books and found a copy of Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential”…had to buy it as some effn swine stole it from my bookshelf many years ago…I think Mr. Bourdain is wonderful.

So with my smile planted nicely back on my face I made us a nice dinner tonight to farewell my daughter who is off camping for the rest of the week. You have no idea how funny this is to me. She hates camping and hiking and bugs and everything that goes with it and so does her boy friend but his dad has insisted that they all go off camping and hiking this week…the pleasure I will get from the torture she will suffer this week is rather perverse I know but I can’t help it…she says I’m evil and she may just be right!

My daughter is happier shopping than hiking!

So, what went into this…a nice cut of steak, leeks, red onion, asparagus with Marsala, cream and blue cheese sauce sitting on a bed of lettuce…pretty damn good actually.  

Freedom, Fun and Formals

Chicken Marsala…My Way!

So, my daughter has finally finished school. All exams done! That’s 13 years of schooling done and dusted…unbelievable!

She’s done a lot of sleeping this week and I haven’t seen her much. Tonight she set off to her school formal…all dressed up in a 1950’s halter neck style red dress, complete with tulle underskirt and 2 hours at the hairdressers.

It’s no wonder I haven’t had time to post anything. Lots of running around to the dress maker, shopping for shoes and accessories, dropping and picking up stuff before and after work…I’m pooped to say the least. We also haven’t eaten a proper meal or anything worth posting for over a week.

This also happens to be the busiest time at work…end of year exams, marking, planning for next year, orientation programs and report writing. I’ve taken so many head ache tablets over the last 2 weeks that I’m starting to rattle!

So, after dropping my all glammed up daughter at her friend’s place so they can take photos and wait for their maxi taxi to take them to The Grand Ballroom at The Hilton, I came home and thought about dinner. I had a dream the other night about Chicken Marsala! Why? I have no idea! I haven’t eaten this since the early ’90’s and since I was feeling a little nostalgic (with my daughter having grown up and finished school and all that), Chicken Marsala was what we had for dinner…my version of it anyway.

Here’s the photo people…it tasted great!

I used chicken fillets because I had them (strange because I hardly ever buy chicken fillets), seared in a pan until nicely coloured and covered and placed in the oven.

Mushrooms fried in the same pan, added Marsala, stilton cheese, cream and some butter and then added the chicken fillets, making sure to pour in all the juice from the chicken for added flavour.

Served with broccolini and potato au gratin…just lovely and it almost made me forget the amount of work I have to do this weekend.

Image

A Sunshine Blog Award

Thank You

Thank you to:

www.bakingbohemian.wordpress.com/

for nominating me for a Sunshine blog award…People you need to check out this blog…really wonderful with great photos.

OK! There are rules I must follow and the last time I tried to do this none of my links would work so I was unable to complete the task required for my “One Lovely Blog Award.”

So, here’s hoping this works.

I have to answer some questions about myself first and I aim to do so in my usual charming and witty way…here goes…

1. Who is your favourite Philosopher?

Easy…Sextus Empiricus

Sextus Empiricus raised concerns which applied to all types of knowledge. He doubted the validity of induction long before its best known critic David Hume, and raised the regress argument against all forms of reasoning…Nah! Jokes…I just chose this philosopher because it had the word ‘sex’ in it aye!

2. What is your favourite number?

Taken directly from a scene of ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ when asked the very same question…well…you work it out!

3. What is your favourite animal?

I could say cat and dog because I own both but if we are being truthful here… and I mean really honest…then ‘a big strong beastly man’ is my favourite animal.

4. What are your Facebook and Twitter

@kissarmy67 for Twitter but I hardly ever use Twitter so I’m surprised I remembered and my facebook food page is linked to this blog and as I can’t remember what it is, you will have to check out my blog in order to find out.

5. What is your favourite part of the day?

This definitely depends on whether I am on holidays or not…early morning for holidays and the end of a working day if not on holidays…basically any time I am not at work and where somewhere in the world it is wine o’clock…or in my case…Vodka Time.

6. What is your favourite physical activity?

Seriously? … See number 2 for this…no! no! no!…jks…ummm…I can do loads of push ups 🙂

7. What is your favourite non – alcoholic drink?

What!!!???!!! They sell non – alcoholic drinks now?…when did that happen?

8. What is your favourite flower?

I do love roses but really any flower I don’t kill is a good one.

9. What is your passion?

Seriously asking for it here…I love my pantry but that’s more of an obsession…I would have to say that I’m passionate about passion…it’s a beautiful word!

Nomate 10 others for this award…here goes…

roar sweetly…www.http://roarsweetly.wordpress.com/…what an awesome name and blog…pictures are fantastic!

food is the best shit ever..http://foodisthebestshitever.wordpress.com/…because it’s nice to support the crazy people in this world and of course their food is full of total awesomness!

homemade with mess…http://homemadewithmess.wordpress.com/…because she cooks food that I love to eat and is holding a glass of wine in her picture:)

things my belly likes…http://thingsmybellylikes.com/…because my belly loves all her food and she’s been with me since the beginning.

frugal feeding…http://frugalfeeding.com/…because of your great use of alliteration and for those awesome blueberry brownines.

jono and jules do food and wine…http://jonoandjules.com/…because their  name sounds suspiciously like a certain film where a certain woman does a certain something in Dallas…plus I have tried lots of their recipes and they have been fantastic!

cumin seeds…http://cuminseeds.wordpress.com/…for a really beautiful blog and her ‘Raspberry and Kiwi Pavlova’ look divine 🙂

jibuyabu…http://jibuyabu.wordpress.com/ for exquisite photos and great recipes 🙂

Now, I know I was meant to nominate 10 blogs and I only have 8…it was all the time I had whilst supervising a Year 10 Maths exam…sorry ’bout that!

ok…now that I’m checking the post and I have been told none of the links work…and they don’t, I’m off to the bloody pub!!!

fixin’ my mess later!!!

cheers 🙂

I only like the ice cream in Venice.

Chocolate, Rum and Pistachio Ice Cream

I’ve never really been a big fan of ice cream…until I went to Italy.

At the end of 2003 I decided that work could go to hell and that I needed a break. So, in 2004 I didn’t go back to work, taking a years’ leave and after only one term of school for my daughter, we headed off to Europe in early March…gone for a whole year, we travelled around Europe for 4 months and settled in my father’s house on the Greek Island of Lefkada for the remainder of our year away. Living in a village and catching the bus down the mountain to the most amazing beaches every single day, made for the best summer I have ever had. When schools reopened in September, I sent my daughter to the local school and I started teaching English to local kids. I really toyed with the idea of never coming back to Australia but village life is not for me and I really do have a deep love for Melbourne.

An amazing experience and I fell seriously in love with Italy. Our planned two week stay in Italy blew out to I think a month, maybe more…can’t really remember now.

My daughter, who was 10 yrs old at the time, would order ice cream for dessert every night and because she was so cute and could say please and thank you in Italian, always scored her dessert for free. One night when we were in Venice she ordered a vanilla bean ice cream and urged me to try it. Reluctantly I did and it was the best damn thing I had ever tasted! A month later and still in Italy, I had tried every flavour under the sun. An ice cream convert..or so I thought…until I came home and happily went out for ice cream on a hot summers’ day…the let down was enormous…no more ice cream for me.

Until now. Now I’m not saying that I have managed to start making my own ice cream as good as the Italians but I have managed to find something that is rich and creamy where I can control the flavours and does not require an ice cream machine.

Over the last two weeks I have made small tubs of vanilla bean ice cream, coffee and rum ice cream, fresh strawberry ice cream and chocolate, rum and pistachio ice cream and they have all been wonderful. My daughter, my handsome man and my best friend have written down their favourite flavours and I now have a long list of amazing ice cream to make (and lots of tubs to buy and lots of room to make in the freezer).

I’m even going to make a christmas tree shaped ice cream cake for my niece and nephew for Christmas Day.

It’s so ridiculously simple…embarrassingly simple actually with the inclusion of the not so elegant ‘ingredient’ – sweetened condensed milk but it’s great!

This makes a small tub full and you can always double or triple the ingredients and add whatever flavour you like…it’s awesome!

Ingredients (bahahahaha)

300ml double cream

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 tbsps rum (or pure rum extract)

2 tbsps best quality cocoa

1/2 cup chopped pistachios

Method (bahahahahahaha)

Put first four ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk at high speed until thick

Add pistachios and whisk until combined

Spoon into a freezer safe container with a lid and place in freezer…seriously, you could eat it straight away 🙂

 

What to make for dinner?…Just make it all…!!!

Beef Casserole with Mushrooms and Leeks and Tomatoes, Red Capsicum & Zucchini Stuffed with Herb Rice.

Beautiful, warm but a bit breezy today and I was up way too early for a Sunday after having gone to bed after 2am last night. This morning I was doing the right thing and dropping my parents off to a friend’s place. My dad is getting a bit old and shouldn’t really be driving too far so I did my good deed for the day. I try not to do many good deeds as people might just start getting the wrong idea – thinking I’m a good person and all that – I have a reputation to uphold you know!

I must be getting old too as I am forgetting lots of things lately. Such as the night before Halloween when I got up from the couch to make cup cakes to go into my great looking bat decorated Halloween muffin cases and ended up making two big square cakes instead! From the couch to the kitchen – only a couple of feet away I had totally forgotten what I was going to do. So, the cakes went into the freezer for my dad’s birthday and I made the cup cakes when I got home from work the next day on Halloween night…crazy batshit business!

Yesterday I bought 4 red capsicums, 6 vine ripe tomatoes and a few zucchinis in order to stuff them with a dill and parsley rice to go into the oven. This is what the Greeks call ‘Yemista’…it means ‘to fill or stuff’…and I haven’t made a tray of these for a long time but I absolutely love them! So, just before I went to bed last night I pulled out some beef from the freezer to defrost and this morning I made a great beef casserole with red wine, mushrooms and leeks! It wasn’t until I was getting out the parsley that I noticed a great big bag full of my ingredients for the stuffed veg/tomatoes…Shit bricks!…Oops! I did it again!

So I made them as well!

By lunch time I had two main meals ready and the rest of the day was mine and by that I mean after dropping off my daughter at friend’s place to study and picking up my parents and then picking up currants, raisins and prunes for my Christmas cake and buying my coffee, the rest of the day was mine!…and by that I mean, sometime after 3:30pm.

Now to more soothing things…Pomegranate Vodka coming right up! Can’t get enough of this stuff!

The mystery of my memory loss may lay somewhere in the line directly above this one…I don’t know…just guessing!

Ingredients

6 medium perfectly-ripe yummy tomatoes

4 medium red capsicum (peppers)

2 zucchinis

3/4 cup olive oil

2 – 3 cups rice

1 large onion, chopped fine  and spring onions

3 garlic cloves, minced very fine

1/4 cup fresh dill (use mint if you don’t like dill)

1/2 cup chopped parsley,

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon tomato paste plus the tomato pulp from the fresh tomatoes

salt and pepper

Method

Cut off tops of tomatoes (retain tops) and carefully scoop out flesh (retain this as well).

Cut off tops of red capsicum (peppers) – (retain tops) and remove seeds and membrane.

Slice zucchinis in half, lengthways and scoop out flesh so you are left with little canoe like things.

Place tomatoes, capsicums and zucchini in a pan large enough to hold them comfortably and give each veg a tiny dash of sugar with the tips of your fingertips (I really think this is important!)… also coat them in oil.

Take tomato flesh and process it until pureed.

Add olive oil, rice, onion, spring onion, garlic, dill, parsley, tomato flesh, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (or season to taste) to a pan and add water to half cook the rice…don’t cook it totally as it will get another blast of cooking in the oven.

Stuff the vegetables and tomatoes evenly with this mixture.

Replace tops of tomatoes and capsicum.

Combine 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup olive oil with an even tablespoonful of tomato paste and a little salt and pepper and pour this around the veg.

Bake in a preheated 180C oven for approx 1 hour (vegetables should pierce easily and be slightly blackened in parts).

Turn off oven and leave in for another hour to’mellow’ before serving.

This is best served slightly warm or at room temperature but I have been known to have these cold for breakfast or lunch the next day.

These are wonderful eaten along with little bites of feta cheese and a cool glass of white or rose.

It will also have yummy juices begging to be mopped up with bits of crusty bread.

In my mums’ version, she also used 3-4 medium-sized potatoes, cut them into big wedges, tossed in a little olive oil with salt and pepper to taste, and’planted’ in the spaces amidst the vegetables… but I didn’t do that but you could (it’s yummy!)

PS: I’m not posting a picture of the casserole because I wasn’t supposed to make it in the first place and have posted it before.

Queen Victoria Market

Asparagus and Leek Something or Other…

Yesterday was a beautiful warm and sunny day in Melbourne and called for a stroll through The Queen Victoria Market.

Many years ago I used to do all my food shopping there. My dad introduced me to his favourite butcher and my sister – in – law’s family owned a couple of the fish/seafood stalls so I was always guaranteed to get the best and freshest of everything. I had my trolley and never needed a list, buying what caught my eye. I loved doing this. Then along came a child (my child, not that I found one at the market) and full time work and those weekly visits came to an end.

Of course dad’s butcher is no longer there and my sister – in – law’s fam have sold up and retired.

Yesterday I had the need to get there and just soak up the atmosphere. Lots more sit down food/coffee areas but the stalls full of crappy Australiana are still there. We walked up and down every aisle, looking at every crappy T.Shirt, remote control toys for kids and the little battery operated yappy dogs that did flips (I had one of those when I was kid) and found my eyes welling up. My handsome man’s eyes were also teary and I was shocked to see him so emotional but it turns out his eyes were teary because of a man who obviously needed a lesson in personal hygiene and not from any type of nostalgia!

Strolling through the fruit and veg stalls were the guys competing for business, trying to out yell one another. Seriously, this one guy was about to burst the veins in his neck…indeed at one point I thought his head would explode…So, I stood, watched and waited but alas no joy! His head stayed intact!

They had the most beautiful smelling mangoes and awesome pomegranates as well as the freshest looking asparagus I have ever seen. I bought lots of each.

The pomegranates are gone already as I went on a bit of a Vodka kick when I got home (it was a hot day ok!!!) and squeezed the juice into my martini glass and banged out all those amazing little rubies with my rolling pin and added them to my glass and poured in my Vodka and sat outside in my small court yard and just went to Heaven for a while…mmmmmm….Vodka!

But this really is about the asparagus. I came home from work today and looked through the freezer (found puff pastry) so decided that the asparagus would go into this pie/quiche thingy. Full of the free range eggs I had bought and the baby leeks, the grated nutmeg and some wonderful cheese (blue cheese and parmesan) and cream and topped with sliced tomatoes from the organic section and served with a green salad…well, it was so good I made two of them so I could have some more tomorrow.

Oh, and I finally managed to track down the dark muscovado sugar I have been looking for so the ingredients for my Christmas cake a slowly coming together…Damn that Nigella and her must try Chocolate Christmas Cake with ingredients that are hard to come by…

Cheers people and now for the rest of my Pomegranate Vodka which has steeped nicely over night…thank you Melbourne for giving me a day off work tomorrow for a horse race 🙂