Sunday, February 28

Tempt the Easter bunny: Carrot Cookie Sandwiches

This one would be a great little project for you who either would like an alternative to chocolate for Easter (to gift or eat!) or a little project with the kids to prepare for the Easter Bunny.  Good for the lunchbox too!

This recipe is from the  (celebrity) Masterchef Australia stable.  A little bit 'cakey' in texture, they are moist yet not too sweet - suitable for freezing too, so make ahead if you wish!

Mine made about 35 sandwiches.
250g butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1½ cups finely grated carrot
1 cups rolled oats
1 cup sultanas (I used currants)

250g spreadable cream cheese
½ cup pure icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Finely grate your carrots  - I did mine with the food processor - it took 3 large carrots.

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy, then add one egg at a time, beating through thoroughly after each addition

Sift flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and cinnamon in another bowl

 With a spatula, mix the dry ingredients into the wet.

 Add the carrots and the sultanas/currants and ensure well combined.  Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees c (fan forced)

Roll up mixture into walnut sized balls and placed onto greased trays.

With a wet hand, tap down the tops of each ball to flatten slightly

Bake for 10-15 minutes until browned on top.  Cool on baking tray.

When cool, pair up your biscuits into similar sizes and dollop one tablespoon of filling on one biscuit, spread to almost the edges and then place it's pair on top with a little bit of firmness.

Saturday, February 27

A lot of things can happen in a marriage..

My maid of honour and god-sister is getting married in a few weeks.  I'm really excited as family weddings in my family are quite a rare event - in fact the last one was my wedding, six and half years ago and the one before that was my Aunts'.  Almost 20 years-to-the-day before.

All this wedding excitement has me reminiscing our wedding day.  The preparation, the way we had spent so much time researching, planning, spending,yes spending but mostly anticipating our 'big day'.  I would love to live it over again.  Just the day mind you - not the expense and not the preparations!

It was such a perfect day, I was calm, prepared and felt the world was on our side.  It was glorious, I felt so beautiful.  My hubby was so handsome, I felt so completely blissful.  When I think about the word 'Reflection' I think about this wedding picture, it's one of my favourites.

Wedding Photo - September 2003

Was marriage what I thought it would be?
No, not really.  But yes in many ways.  We've built a life, a family and we're building a future.  That I expected and hoped for.  Building that family was a lot easier than I thought conception wise and by our second anniversary we had a 15 month old and were 3 months away from having our twins.  2 years and 3 months - 3 kids.  Crazy.

Eloise - born June 2004

Hubby with Olivia and Laura - Dec 2005
This did put a lot of stress on our marriage, and although I never doubted my decision to marry my hubby there were times where I wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into.  Instead of feeling calm, prepared, and the world was on our side I felt anxiety, out of control and at odds with myself.  Not even myself.

Our family Jan 2009 - Eloise's first day of school
We did weather that storm, and we've managed most of the 'young years' of our kids on one income, increased financial pressures and some scary health issues. 

The future is looking rosy.  I will go back to work soon, our youngest two will head off to school - we will all, and I mean ALL of us gain some independence. 

What would I change?
Nothing and everything.  I wouldn't change our beautiful three frills.  They mean the world to us and I still look at them with amazement that we have made and raised them thusfar.  If I had to do it all again I would have waited a little longer before having them, but that said, I was ready, and my Dad gave me some wise words when we discovered we were first pregnant 'You don't plan kids, kids plan you'.  So true.

We are stronger, we are looking forward to the things ahead.  We're not in lovey-dovey love anymore but I think that's just an ebb and flow of the lifestyle.  We laugh together, we share so much, we talk about just about everything.  We are partners in life, best friends, comfort and joy.

Friday, February 26

F is for...

Today it is 'F' day at school. Both kindergarten classes came dressed to school as something starting with f.

Hubby took Eloise to school as I'm sick (again) and came home with a very amusing account of line up at school today.

All the kids are waiting on the seats waiting to line up to go into class.  The teacher starts to call forward the class:

'Can I see all the fairies line up please?' and a parade of little girls line up
'and all fishermen please'
Soon she has called the frog, the firemen and fantastic schoolgirls
and lastly there's a pretty little thing in a pretty floral dress.

'Darling, what are you today?'
the child whispers, the teacher can't hear her.
'What was that?'
The girl speaks up 'A feminist!'

'Oooh.  Okaaaayyyy....' says the teacher looking a little confused, shocked but nonetheless encouraging.

I think she meant feminine.  The things kids come out with - kindergarten teachers honestly must hear and see gold!  Reminds me of one of my fave blogs: VodkaMom - who has some hilarious tales of her life as a kindergarten teacher

Fast Food on a Friday: Lamb Koftas

I've wanted to try these forever and it's a wonder I haven't really - it contains most of my favourite flavours and is a perfect BBQ addition or a quick meal for a hot evening.  What I like about it too with a young family is that they can get involved in putting their meal together themselves - kids love to invent their own foods and it's a way of giving them some control, whilst (sneakily) deciding what they eat.

You can make the lamb kebab sticks the day ahead or even weeks, and freeze uncooked.  Leftovers are fabulous cold too.

Ingredients:  (makes 16 lamb sticks - for 8-12 pita breads)
600gr lean lamb mince
4 pieces multigran bread
3 cloves garlic
2 eggs
3 sprigs of fresh oregano (or 1.5 tsp dried if you must!)
2 long sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried..yadda yadda)
Olive oil

20cm skewers x 16

Tzatziki (you can buy this in the dip aisle but I make mine with Natural yoghurt, grated and drained cucumber, garlic and a little fresh mint)
Sliced tomatoes
Lettuce - I prefer rocket or cos
Diced cucumber
Pita bread (I buy mini ones but you may opt for mountain bread or large pita breads)

MethodIn a food processor, process the bread until it becomes breadcrumbs
Add garlic and herbs, blitz for another 20 secs or so until well combined
Add mince and egg and blitz for about 1 minute until all well combined.

Form into long finger-like patties about 3cm wide and 10cm long, push a skewer in until it almost reaches the top and give a final roll between your hands to retain a round shape

Refrigerate until ready to cook (I recommend at least 1 hour but if you are in a hurry- go ahead!)

Thursday, February 25

10 Food things to do in 2010 - Update 2

Whoohoo I am making progress, here's a quick update!

1. Sushi, never made it, love to eat it.
[FEB] Yes!! Have made it (Feb) It's one of those things with more practice you get better at I'm sure but I'm proud of my first attempt!  It was edible!

2. Baklava - scared to bugger it up, but I'm going to give it a try
found a fabulous recipe - and I think I'm not far off making this one!

3. Brioche - an indulgence, but something I want to make for easter this year
I have the recipe I want to use.. bring on easter!

4. Pastry - want to make some pies and tarts this year - making pastry from scratch
I'm on the lookout for the pie tins I want (and pie weights too) am looking forward to this!

[FEB] I have so far made a cheaty sweet/savoury shortcrust here for mini apple pies - more to come though!

5. Preserve more. I want to preserve 6 things I never have before
OK, I've done some of this! 

[FEB] I have some green tomatoes and in the freezer some stoned cherries, plums and peaches, and also loads of strawberries to do something with - and let's not forget all the apples from our recent apple picking - more to come, promise!

[JAN] Preserving Pesto
[JAN] Home-made spicy tomato sauce (ketchup)
[JAN] Sweet Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
[JAN] Easy and Versatile Plum Jam

6. Fondue - I used to make this on a regular basis but haven't for years - going to have a fondue party this year - I've got two fondue pots needing to be utilised.
I think this will be a winter dinner party - perhaps my birthday?

7. Pasta - I want to get the macaroni/pasta maker kitchenaid attachment and dry some pasta, I know it's cheap to buy the pre-made stuff but I'd like to have a go at least.
Money permitting!  I think in the latter half of the year

8. Try 3 Julia Child recipes this year
I think this will be winter endeavour also

9. Make sausages from scratch
Looking forward to this, must start scouting out some ingredients/recipes

10. Discover at least two more direct sources of produce - maybe a few roadtrips are in order. (Hey maybe Lorraine will do the easter chocolate tour!!??!! *blatant hint*)

[FEB] We went on a roadtrip this month (Feb) to Bilpin Springs Orchard (open from late Jan to June each year) and found a direct source of apples, limes, pears, peaches, plums and figs (and blueberries in the future)

Wednesday, February 24

Lunchbox Legends: (Gluten Free) Mini Somerset Apple cakes

OK, so a little disclaimer here to start with - if your school has an across the board nut-free policy - best not send these to school, but send them along to work with hubby or of course YOURSELF.  These are deliciously moist and m-m-m-mmmm good.  They feel like they are spoiling yourself in the yummiest possible way.  They also look so cute!

I've adapted this from the Annie Bells' Book Delicous cakes - where she has made the traditional whole cake in springform pan.  So if you want to use the same recipe - do so with a springform pan, and leave it to cook for another 40 minutes.

2 granny smith apples
1/2 lemon
175gr brown sugar
175gr butter, cubed
3 medium eggs, separated
175gr almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
icing sugar to dust (optional)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees c

Peel, core and quarter your apples.  With one half, slice into thin slices. Sprinkle with a tsp brown sugar and lemon juice and set aside:

The remaining apple, dice into small-ish pieces, sprinkle brown sugar and lemon juice and set aside

Beat your egg whites until they become firm and stiff, set aside and clean your mixing bowl.

Back in your mixing bowl, cream butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yoks gradually and mix until soft and smooth.

Take off the mixer and stir through with a spatula the almond meal, baking powder and chopped apple and then add the egg whites fold in gently until all combined.

Pour into cupcake/muffin papers - top with the sliced apple 
(these are from Paper Eskimo - mix made 15)

Bake for 15-20 minutes until apple is browned on top.  Dust with icing sugar when cooled (optional)

Suitable for freezing

Tuesday, February 23


Well they're kinda like them.
They are homemade
They taste like 'em
They're a helluva lot cheaper
They're super easy to make

Give me a Streets Splice Icecream (or lets face it a Splice Cocktail) on a hot day and I'm a happy girl. So I decided I would improvise and make up some quick iceblocks for the hot days we're having.  They are more 'icy' than 'creamy' by my, they are refreshing!

What you'll need
150ml pineapple juice or crushed pineapple
400ml coconut cream
Juice of 1 large or 2 small limes
Ice block moulds (I've use Tupperware Ice-tups, I can seriously never have enough of these!)

In a jug, mix the juices, coconut cream together, give a good stir.
Pour into moulds
Freeze for at least 6-8 hours


Make it from Scratch Carnival #156 - last one here!

Some changes afoot over at the Make it from Scratch Carnival!

Sad news, is I won't be hosting the carnival here at Frills in the Hills anymore.

Good News: From April, the MIFS carnival will take place at Make it From Scratch HQ - it will be more immediate and helpful to all!
Even Better News:  I have been asked to become a regular contributor over at Make it From Scratch, so if you're not a follower already, off you go!  I'll be contributing every first Tuesday of the month at minimum!  See you over there!

Now, without any further ado - here is this weeks' carnival!

For those of you in Australia, we call them Spicy Fruit Rolls, but in the States, they're called Fig Newtons - So... here's the recipe to make your own!  How cool is that?  Thank you so much to Kristen at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.
Can someone say *drool* ?  Look at these Maple Pecan Oatmeal Scones with Maple Glaze! If you want the recipe, I think you better head over to Farmers' Daughter ASAP.  oh my!

You know over here in Australia, Turkey is mostly really consumed as a packaged good to eat on Sandwiches!  When I read posts quite regularly using turkey meat I asumme it must be as easy to come by like our beef mince.  And looking at this recipe, I'd say you could substitute here.    Sooo.. with that in mind I want everyone to head over to The Family Balance Sheet and see the very colourful and yummy looking Turkey Cornbread Pot Pie
What an ingenious little ditty from Heather over at Marine Corps Nomads - Hot Cheesy Chicken Dip! Think this is one I'm going to file away for a gathering in the colder months here - using leftover BBQ chicken I think!

This one is going on my to try list definitely I love Sicilian food! Thanks to Make my own Luck - Sicilian Beef Soup -apparently it got her family through the blizzard... and what a way to do it, it's like you can smell it off the page! 
Ever wanted to make cornbread from scratch?  I haven't done this before but I think I'm going to tive it a whirl thanks to Tiffany from The Crafty Homemaker - check it out!

On a tight budget?  Angie over at Annie's home shares a Frugal Chicken Casserole Recipe she recently discovered that cost her five dollars to make - that's cheap!

Jenn presents How to Make Birthday Cake Petit Fours posted at Frugal Front Porch.   Aren't they colourful?  Easy too!

Nom nom nom. Kristen shares a recipe for Tres Leche at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen - check it out!

Oh I love this submission!  Jaclyn from The Late Afternoon shows us a fabulous way to adorn anything from Easter Baskets to birthday gifts with these beautiful flowers!  I want to give this ago!

Here incredibly clever Recycle Cindy goes again!  She has made from a recycled t-shirt no less, a crochet baby bib!  How incredibly clever AND cute!

Ever heard of Dakota Britches?  Not me!  Now I've had an education on a cute way to give dishcloth gifts to friends thanks to The Lighter Side!

Love this too - at 19 and still alive - Niner shows us how to Make your own French Noticeboard - just as an aside, I have made two very similar to those which I put my little frills' embarrassing amount of hair clips on!  This is easy and stylish and extremely satisfying project!

If you've got a couple of drab upholstered dining chairs or any upholstered cushions - this could inspire you!  At 11th Heaven Homemaking Haven you can find out step-by-step how to re-upholster cushions!

Asthma friendly home-made fabric softener anyone?  Head on over to Savvy Brown to learn how to make your own!

Selina over at Tips and Snippets has submitted a great post this week - How to make your own airfreshner.  Thinking about it - buying this at the supermarket is expensive - she shows us lots of different types for many purposes.  Well worth a looksee!

Eugene presents How To Make Your Own Laundry Soap At Home posted at How to Make You Own Soap.

Savvy Brown has been busy this week!  Now head over if you could use a quick and easy homemade facial scrub - tempted myself actually.....

Now that's it for this week at the Make it from Scratch Carnival - and let's make it this one go off with a bang by sharing with your friends, family and those lovely little social network buttons below like facebook, stumbleupon and twitter!  More traffic to share these wonderful submissions!

Well that's it!  Thanks to Stephanie over at Make it from Scratch for the opportunity to host, and for the new gig as contributor -stay tuned over at the Make it from Scratch HQ for how to submit for the next Make it from Scratch Carnival!


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