Tuesday, November 30

Make it this week - Tzatziki

Tzatziki - how I love thee - out of all the dips this is the first one I go for, then the hoummus.  I love this stuff.  I was first introduced to homemade tzatziki by a kiwi friend who had a greek husband and she had to learn to make 'proper tzatziki' according to her mother-in-law.  And proper it was - the day she bought it around I begged her to leave the leftovers for me and I bugged her for weeks for the recipe.

2 telegraph cucumbers, peeled and de-seeded
250g greek yoghurt
2 cloves garlic
20 leaves of mint, finely chopped
1 stalk of dill, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon

Peel and de-seed your cucumber

Place in a food processor and process well.

Drain over a bowl for at least 4 hours - squish down without losing any pulp to ensure you've extracted all the liquid - honestly the more liquid you extract, the better your tzatziki will taste.   I used cheese cloth also at the end - folded mixture into it and wrung out excess liquid!

In a processor mix the garlic, dill and mint.

Mix the pulp with the garlic dill and mint and fold into your yoghurt.  Add lemon juice and stir through well.

Eat with mixed vegetables or crackers (I like rice crackers!) or with souvlaki or koftas or even felafel!

As if you needed any incentive! 2 Gingerbreadfolk House kits up for grabs!

You would be forgiven for thinking I've gone a bit gingerbread crazy this past week (what, with my TWO houses and my gingerbread recipe!) because the truth is....I HAVE!....I have had to physically restrain myself from making a gingerbread village because my brain seems to be always ticking over ideas about how to decorate a gingerbread house!

Now you can do the same because I'll be choosing 2 lucky subscribers to the Frills in the Hills Newsletter (out tomorrow people, hurry up!) to design their own gingerbread houses.... with a kit from the gingerbread folk!  

Now if you want some tips to make your own - the gingerbread folk are doing some demonstrations where I am sure you'll be able to buy your own kits:

- next Sunday demo in the test kitchen at The Chef and the Cook's 'test kitchen' 11-12 for all to see. They'll be putting together one of Gingerbread Folk's gingerbread house kits.
- Or you could pop into the Chef and the Cook's stand at MasterChef Live on Sunday 12th of December.

Or, you can order/buy them from their many stockists listed here.

So if you don't subscribe, do it here - and if you do, sit tight!!  I'll announce the winner IN the newsletter which goes out tomorrow around lunchtime!

(psst here's a little preview)

Look no further, HERE is your gingerbread recipe for this Christmas

It's not often I gloat, but with this one it might be hard not to.   I know not everyone is a fan of gingerbread, but if you are or you're not - this is the one you want to make because it's that almost chewy, aromatic piece of loveliness that just screams Christmas.    You will make people happy - even yourself.

The other piece of great news is that it isn't hard.  And it makes a bit but not too much.

125g butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup treacle
1 egg yolk
2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp baking power
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice


Cream your butter and brown sugar together until silky and soft.  Add treacle and egg yolk, and mix through well.

Sift your flour into the mixture and then add bicarb, baking powder, ginger and mixed spice.  Start mixing together.

 It will become this rich (and slightly sticky) golden mixture here.  *drool*

Place mixture in ziplock bag or glad wrap and into the refrigerator for one hour.  Go get a manicure or have a nap... then preheat the oven to 175 degrees c

When your hour is up - roll it out over some flour and go crazy with your cookie cutters!

Placed onto ungreased tray and bake for 10 or so minutes.

Ice if you like or just eat them as-is - package them up in cellophane and ribbon and give them away (OK maybe with the second batch if you want to eat the first, I don't blame you!)

Psst make sure you subscribe to the newsletter by midday tomorrow - because one lucky subscriber will win a gingerbread surprise - you won't want to miss out!

Monday, November 29

Cutter winners and Gingerbread House Mark 2!

Yes, I have been busy!

Garage sale on the weekend, gingerbread house making and some recovery!

This gingerbread house is a bit bigger than the other one, and has options for a gable.  I got my act together with a few more red and white things:

Skittles, jaffas, kool mints, large candy cane, chocolate santas and red licorice and let's not forget the marshmallow gables on top - so easy - just cut marshmallows into 1/3rds and stick straight on - no need for icing - oh and attach onto roof before placing on roof before placing on top of house.

With a sifting of icing sugar over the top (sorry no picture - yet!) it does loo

I loved reading all about your lovely traditions, and there are some great ideas for those of you looking to start your own!

Here are the winners!  Don't forget to email me your address so I can get them off to you ASAP!

Alisi's Mummy
Kylie @ The Rockgarden 
Petra Aitken 

Friday, November 26

Gingerbread house 2010 - Mark 1


Friday afternoon has arrived - and I hope you're all winding down already or at least thinking about it!  We're ramping up because tomorrow is our big garage sale but hopefully tomorrow afternoon we'll have a lot less stuff to store and a little bit more cash - wish us luck!

Last night I had a relaxing night doing some Gingerbread House decorating with Corrie - we chatted, iced, (she) breastfed and made our adornments for the houses.  I wanted to be a bit minimalist after last year but I'm not sure if I went too minimalist - it's an all or nothing kind of thing - it's hard to know when to stop adding lollies!

I did get a lot of compliments on my roof on the night which I used some left over ready-to-roll icing along with the gorgeous cookie cutter - yes, the very one I'm giving away 10 of this week (along with a candy cane one) - it was fun.

Here's our pics!

Works in progress (Corrie's on the right)

 Ze roof, I love it!  I covered it with edible glitter ($3.20 from Inspired by Chocolate)
so it glistens in the light - can just see it glowing next to the Christmas tree!

And the front door - made with icing with fruit ring and cachous.

Front view

 Hello little snowman (with a wonky eye)

Rear view (marshmallow tree and snowman) Shim pen detail between window, on scarf and eyes 

All wrapped up and ready to go (mine  on left, Corries on the right)

Low Fat Friday with Lucy: Crispy Turkey Goujons with Cauliflower “Couscous”

Today we have a guest post from the wonderful Lucy over at Diminishing Lucy - as Molly says: 'Do yourself a favour and check it out!'  I so love this post and hope Lucy comes back soon for another guest post - don't you agree?

The first time I had the pleasure of coming across Liss's gorgeous blog was via Twitter, when I placed a call out for cauliflower recipes. Straight away she linked me to one of her "Season Savvy" posts, and I was hooked.

I am on an ongoing journey to health, so I am always looking at ways to convert recipes to make them fit with what works for me: with what helps me feel good, have loads of energy, and enable me to lose weight. This means a recipe must:

  • be low in fat
  • be low in processed carbs
  • be real food
  • be full of flavour
  • be filling
  • be high in fibre and high in protein
I'll be honest, when Liss asked me to guest post for her, I was thrilled.

And then terrified. She has so many brilliant recipes - how can I ever hope to give her (or her readers!) anything new?

But then I remembered this - a firm favourite of mine, fits ALL the above criteria.

Crispy Turkey Goujons with Cauliflower “Couscous”

For the crispy turkey goujons:

750g turkey breast steaks, trimmed and cut into goujons
1 cup stale breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 egg whites, beaten
1 teaspoon sumac (Lebanese spice)
Olive oil cooking spray

For the cauliflower “couscous”:

½ a head of fresh cauliflower
The juice of 2 lemons
Sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper
1 punnet (200g) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Lebanese cucumber, halved cut into chunks
1cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped fresh mint

1. Break the cauliflower into florets and steam in the microwave for 3 minutes

2. Drain, and allow to cool

3. Half all the tomatoes and chop the cucumber into chunks. Chop the herbs, and juice the lemons

3. Process the cauliflower finely, so that it resembles the texture of couscous

4. Combine the ground cauliflower with the lemon juice and the salt and pepper

5. Add the tomatoes, the cucumber, and the herbs and mix gently to combine. Chill.

6. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

7. Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, and parmesan in a bowl.

8. Beat eggwhites and sumac together in separate bowl.

9. Dip turkey in the eggwhite mixture, shaking off excess.

10. Toss in breadcrumb mixture. Place on trays.

11. Spray turkey goujons with the olive oil spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy and cooked through.

12. Serve turkey on top of a pile of cauliflower "couscous" and with sweet chilli sauce on the side.

Thursday, November 25

Do these girls look ready for school?

I can't believe this is happening but the school uniforms even fit.  The little frills decided it was going to be 'dress up in our school uniform day' on Monday.  I took a deep breath.  I breathed in and out... and I had to do it all over again looking at these photographs!

Where did my babies go?

Frugal and fabulous: Salmon risotto with asparagus

Remember how I told you that I hadn't cooked with asparagus so much ?  Well I'm rectifying it - and in a big way - if I see it I buy it.  I eat it on it's own or in frittata.  Now I'm putting it with my risottos.  I can't get enough of the stuff!

Now I usually like to make a cheaty oven baked risotto, but I did this the regular way because I hadn't made it before and wasn't sure if I was going to add the asparagus at the middle or end... in the end I think it was a good choice to wait to the end and do a stove-top version.  It's pretty easy anyways.

Even better is that it uses tinned red salmon - you could use pink but I don't think the taste would be as good.  It's still a helluva lot cheaper than buying fresh salmon!

2 tb olive oil\
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 large or 1 medium onion, diced
1 litre vegetable stock
415g tin red salmon, drained
1 cup tasty cheese
6 stalks asparagus

Heat oil in bottom of a deep frypan, or pot.  Add onion and heat until transparent.  Add rice and slosh around for about a minute, until it's covered in the oil and onion.  Add 1 1/2 cups stock, simmer for a few minutes

After a few minutes, add your drained salmon, and add another 1 1/2 cups stock.

Simmer for another 5 minutes, add pepper.

Add your cheese and rest of your stock and stir through.  Turn your hob down to its lowest setting and allow to simmer for about another 15-18 minutes until it becomes thick and saucy.

Whilst it simmers away, sprinkle oil over your raw asparagus - add to a hot frypan or grill pan and cook, turning every minute for 5 minutes until cooked, take off the heat and chop roughly.

To serve, plate up and sprinkle with your asparagus!  It's lovely!  Give it a try! xx

Wednesday, November 24

Around our garden November 2010

It's been almost a month (to the day) since my last update so here's a few pics!

Look! Raspberry flowers!

Chinese star jasmine in all its glory.  3 years it has taken to get to this point, we are hoping next year it will start to have grown on the roof beams of the balcony - it smells divine!

These are some of hubby's roses - pwetty huh?

And these have started to grow along the fence line near the entrance to the opera house (our vegetable garden) I think I might have dropped a few of the yellow cherry tomatoes on the way out last summer and they've self seeded, I always grab a couple of ripe ones on my way in and out - super sweet!

 And talking of tomatoes - here is a one of this seasons - how gorgeous is it? (It's a grosse lisse)

And here are our onions, with lovely big flowers on top.  They are so pretty!

And here are the brussel sprouts, I think we'll be eating these over Christmas! 

And look at the nasturtiums! Love them! 
 Look!  A strawberry!!

And the pretty strawberry flowers! 

And the blueberries!!  Come on little babies, ripen up! 


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