Thursday, December 30

Sayonara 2010 - what a year you have been!

And I mean that - what a big year! Not just for me on a personal level but on this blog.

This little place I call my 'online home' has had a huge year too - with some of the recipes appearing over at Kidspot along with some others I did along the way (birthday cakes/food the prime-minister grew up on) and of course the Christmas on the Cheap Series.  I also did a few editorials over there with the very popular Meal Planning Prowess probably a standout amongst those - the Kidspot Team are very encouraging and just lovely people - which I guess the world has worked out too because their Kidspot Social has grown enormously over this year too.

I've contributed to Kleenex Mum's blog, their Mum's the word eBook and recently the KleenexMums Guide to Giving eBook.  Stay tuned because I'll be doing more work with KleenexMums in the new year (hint hint, go and subscribe!)

Frills has had some wonderful guest posters this year and I've also guest posted elsewhere - it's fun to do that sometimes!  I'm excited to share that there will be at least one regular guest poster next year which I know you'll LOVE. I was also very lucky to be asked to be a contributor over at Make it from Scratch, Sydney Film Festival and Sydney Children's Festival this year which was LOADS of fun.

The highlight of my bloggy and personal life was something you guys had a lot to do with - and was winning the 2010 Kidspot's Top 50 Blogger and my family will holiday in Dunk Island!  We'll be taking this in early June and I can't wait!!

I almost forgot the launch the Facebook page which is where I like to connect with so many readers every day and the newsletter which I'm getting the hang of - I love learning new things.

2010 is also when we started giving away subscriptions monthly to Super Food Ideas - and on new years day I'll be announcing TWO people who have won subscriptions - there's still time to be in the running for that one!   Do you know we had 17 giveaways this year? Wow!


I'm hoping to make-over my blog a little in 2011 - and give some new features which will stop me from waking up in the middle of the night writing them down time and again (or perhaps not) and also make it a little easier to use and access.

So here's to a fabulous 2010 - most unexpected and exciting success and here's to 2011 - whatever it brings!  Thank you for visiting, commenting and ENCOURAGING me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart - HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Here's something for you to bring in the new year - 'The Frilly Cherry' cocktail- loaded or virgin!

Hello again friends!

You know since getting my little friend the cherry chomper I've been a wee bit excited about cherries.  When I saw some beautiful sour cherry cordial yesterday at my local deli - I had to get it..

Yesterday my bestie and I had a few things to celebrate - we survived 2010 - it's been a pretty big year for her - finishing off the 5 year build/reno on her house, she welcomed two puppies into her family, the usual family dramas and also her youngest spent her last year at home, like mine.

2011 is going to be our 'freedom' year and we jokingly used to count down to it when our babies were younger and driving us mad.... it seems a bit surreal we are on the cusp of it now.

The Frilly Cherry:
Layer in 6 parts (or mix in punchbowl) over ice and fresh cherries
1 part triple sec or cointreau
1 part cherry cordial
1 part sugar syrup (2/3 cup caster sugar and 2/3 cup water boiled until sugar dissolved and cooled)
3 parts soda water

It's got a sweet taste, and obviously feel free to skip the alcohol if you're duty driver or not in the mood!  If you can't get the sour cherry cordial - try it with the cordial of your choice - like forest berries and serve it with blueberries and strawberries?

What a big year it's been!  This seems like the perfect way to sum it up - sweet (people) full (busy) of flavour (have had great food experiences this year).

This new years we're thinking of taking the kids to see the fireworks - first time ever.  We'll see how tired they are and play it by ear I think.

Do you drink on New Years?  Do you spend it at home or go out? Do you even stay up?

Wednesday, December 29

Step one- don't forget the memory card! 2 recipes today!

I'm having a wonderful time on our 'at home' holiday this year.  All of the insane 'to-do lists' of December are ticked off, Christmas is done and dusted, now it's time to enjoy the days off.   Hubby is home until next Monday and we've been busying ourselves with pleasurable things - homey things and today, we had our besties over to chill out and enjoy this glorious (albeit short-lived) weather.

We haven't had time to catch up properly for ages - and it's a shame but we are all so busy with every-days.

I had planned to cook, and I did - three new glorious things to share - and had it all organised, took photos - and then realised after my first drink hours later - there was no memory card in my camera!

So let me give you the layman's recipe and photos for 2 recipes I made today - and the last I managed to get all the pictures, so I'll share that one tomorrow!

The first one is a good ol' Greek salad.  Nothing too formal about his one but I love it.  Eloise is a huge olive freak so needless to say this is her favourite!

You'll need to combine:  4 large tomatoes, diced, 2 lebanese cucumbers, diced, 1/4 large red onion, finely diced, 200g feta, diced and 1/2 tsp dried or 20 or so leaves of fresh oregano finely chopped, plus lastly 3/4 cup kalamata olives - drizzle some olive oil over bowl and crack some pepper on top... couldn't be easier!

The one that I'm really kicking myself about the photos on is this Nigella Lawson London Cheesecake. It's honestly delicious - and if you're a bit of a cheesecake snob like me I'm sure you'll love it.  I prefer a baked cheesecake and Nigella's New York is my favourite but I didn't have 4 hours to spare so I made the London one - and it's still baked, just takes a portion of the time.

I have 'aussiefied' it a little with a few changes..

1 packet 'rich tea' biscuits
75g butter, melted
500g cream cheese
2/3 cup caster sugar
3 whole eggs and 3 extra egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tb lemon juice

plus, 150ml sour cream, 1/4 cup caster sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract.


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees, non fan forced.
  • Process or crush biscuits until fine crumbs, mix with butter and press into springform pan - place in the fridge
  • In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese until soft and fluffy.  Add sugar and combine well.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, and then egg yolks, vanilla and lemon juice, whip until fluffy.
  • Remove the springform tin from the fridge and wrap from the bottom up around the sides with aluminium foil - two layers should be fine.
  • Fill the springform with the cream cheese mixture and place the whole tin in a roasting tray.  
  •  Pour boiling water from a kettle in the baking tray until it reaches about 1/2 way up the tin.
  • Bake in oven for 40-50 minutes - it should be a little browned on top and spring back when you touch it.   Having the water around the pan ensures that the cheesecake stays moist.
  • When cooked, remove from oven and carefully remove the spring form outer - you may need to put a knife around the edges to dislodge it.  Allow to cool for 20 minutes
  • Meanwhile combine sour cream, vanilla and sugar in a bowl.
  • When cake has cooled, put the outer back on and pour the sour cream over the top.  Return to the fridge until ready to serve (at least 30 minutes).
  • Cut with a hot knife

So after a lovely early dinner, dessert - we got down to hanging out in the garden and I managed to get some shots of the lovely J, L and C - L and C are the same age as our girls - so they are like cousins - their Mum and I were pregnant together both times... lovely how life works after 26 years of friendship.     J was our flowergirl - and well I have a soft-spot for her.  I used to love shopping for clothes for her before my frills came along!

Beautiful kids no?

Monday, December 27

Frilly Christmas 2010 - Part two - Christmas food traditions

I thought I'd show you how I have brought in Christmas traditions of my family growing up, into traditions of my own family...

Now this one is really a present - the Cherry Chomper was a gift to me from Santa - Thank you Santa..!  Now I can make my very berry cherry cake and my vanilla cherry cake so easily - this gadget is the BEST.  You put the cherry in the mouth part, press down the body, it removes the seed and puts it in the little bin-thing in the bottom and you take out your cherry and EAT it.   No mess!  (You can get them at good kitchen retailers for about $20)

The other reason I showed you the photograph of the berries is because it is a bit of a tradition to have lots of fresh fruit, along with croissants and jam for Christmas breakfast.   It's easy-peasy and good that the kids dose up on fruit before everything else... (below is my fig jam and my strawberry jam)

When breakfast is cleared away then the kitchen table is laid out with Christmas fare..

This is my Nan's Christmas cake which she makes one for every family each year - soaking her fruit for a month!  It's amazing! 

 Here's the chilli honey cashew nuts I made this week along with fruit bon-bons.  I always associate these along with the below columbines and scorched almonds...

Here's some of my loot - my sister who knows me so well gave me the cookbook and 'Home made' cookie and pastry stamp, and my Mum gave me the new preserve book, some teatowels and some other goodies too :)
Silly hats are a must on Christmas day...

I love Laura's combination of two hats here... hehe.

Here are the frills with the Christmas bon-bons - I mean wearing silly paper hats is part of the drill too isn't it?

And of course Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a cold Christmas lunch - including prawns and ham - and for hubby - his favourite - pork!

And how could we forget TRIFLE???

We didn't have room for pudding on Christmas day - but I promise next year I will share that recipe with you - it is my Nan's recipe and I've got to say I've tried many-a-pudding and everyone who has tried it agrees - it's the BEST.   I've been eating it every day since!

Do you have Christmas food traditions?

Sunday, December 26

Frilly Christmas 2010 - Part one

I thought I'd share some of our photos from this Christmas, in instalments... because there are so many and most of them tell a story and you know - I don't want you to feel like in you're in the family slideshow from hell.... so here goes!

Santa plates, cups and key ready to go!  (And we were off to bed at 11.15pm- it's a record for us!)

Here are the Christmas stockings I made! Now I initially wasn't happy with them but now, seeing them all up there filled with goodies, I felt quite proud of my efforts. (Thanks for the applique tips and backing Corrie xx)  

All we're missing is a person starting with the initial 'n' and we'd have 'noel' - very Christmassy!

And here we are in our Christmas dresses up at 6.20am.  I made Eloise's for her Carols concert but quickly sewed up two extras on Christmas Eve so Olivia and Laura would have one too. They were chuffed!

Santa was a hit with the stockings this year !

Eloise about to open her present from Santa (ZhuZhu Pets)

There were so many presents this year - and because most of our family don't live in Sydney anymore there's a lot to open at once instead of spreading it over the day.  So we've decided next year interstate presents will be opened on Christmas Eve... to cut down on time mainly - it took us well over an hour to open all the gifts as we open them one at a time (a tradition I don't want to give up)

Then came time for the big present from Gran who has been visiting with us (MIL) she sent some money down for a swing set - and hubby has been building it bit by bit over the week- we had all but the swings put on by Christmas eve, by the clever guise of it being a new garden bed (Eloise has A-frame garden beds at her school) and none of the kids suspected for a moment!

So we led them out the garden with hands over their eyes and faced their backs to the swing set.

Then we told them to turn around and close their eyes.. (they were a bit confused!)

Excitement plus!!!
Unfortunately safety stands say only two swings on this length of cross-beam but after initial issues it's all worked out because Mummy and Daddy bought them Totem tennis too - so someone plays totem tennis whilst others are swinging, or even playing with the Hula hoops Santa delivered!

Poor Gran did do a lot of pushing on those swings yesterday - they have mostly now got the hang of swinging themselves..

(Part two coming soon - My gifts and Christmas lunch!)

The great holiday meal - quickie dinner with leftovers that convert into salad!

Happy boxing day! I hope your Christmas was fabulous, Santa was good to you and you got to sit back and relax and enjoy the day with your family.

This Christmas and indeed summer I find I want quick and easy meals because there's so much rushing around but I still do like to cut my effort in half sometimes and have some leftovers.  This recipe is currently a favourite I've been knocking out of the kitchen since spring and recently tasted the leftovers cold and I jazz it up into a salad.

Chorizo Pasta / Chorizo pasta salad
5 smoked chorizos, diced in roughly 1cm pieces
1 large or 2 medium red onions, roughly diced
1 clove garlic
leaves from 1sprig rosemary
2 x400g tin diced tomatoes
2 tb tomato paste
1 cup sliced mushrooms
5 cups cooked pasta of your choice (I used spiralli)

For salad
1 1/2 cups rocket

In a heavy based saucepan or large frypan heat some oil in the bottom of the pan and cook untils until tender.

Add chorizos, garlic and rosemary and mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until chorizos soften slightly.

Add tin tomatoes plus 1 tin of water and tomato paste, simmer for about 10 minutes until lovely and saucy...

Lastly add pasta and simmer for a little longer until the sauce hugs the pasta.


Now for your salad, cool completely and mix through your rocket... double delish!

Saturday, December 25

Merry Christmas

Hello friends 
I hope you're having a wonderful time and Santa has been good to you?

Today's a pretty laid-back Christmas - My hubby, frills, Nan and my mother-in-law and I will be celebrating the day together with lunch and the kids no doubt will spend a lot of the day playing with new toys or swinging on their new swing hubby built (he is so clever!)

What's on your menu today?  Are you eating at home or elsewhere?

Friday, December 24

Christmas or new years nibbles - Honey chilli cashews

This is another of Janelle Blooms recipes from one of my favourite ever issues of Family Circle (Christmas 2007).  Who doesn't love cashews?  Seriously too yummy.

These are quick and easy and will have your guests happily munching - great with a drink or just on your Christmas table.  Enjoy your Christmas friends!

750g unsalted cashews
100g butter
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp hungarian (smoked) paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt flakes

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c

In a saucepan mix butter, honey, 1/4 cup of water, chilli, paprika and salt - heat until boiling, turn off and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

When cooled, pour over cashews (in a bowl) mix well.

Pour out onto a greased baking tray and roast for about 5 minutes or until golden brown, stir and turn cashews and return to oven for a further few minutes or so until browned on other side.

 Allow to cool until cold, then store in airtight container for up to 5 days.

Thursday, December 23

Festive Drinkies: A new twist on the Martini

Back in the day BC (before children) I used to fancy myself a bit of a punch-guzzler.  Hubby used to make an amazing punch which I made him virgin-ise (i.e. adapt without alcohol) when I spent our first married christmas together - pregnant.

But I haven't ventured over to the Punchbowl (boom-tish) since then.

Martini sent me over their new summer cocktail bottles 'The Ultimate Summer Drink' and I thought: 'Yes, I'm doing punch this year, definitely!'  I've decided in the aftermath of Christmas I'll be doing it as we are having a low-key Christmas - I'll invite my local ladies and gentlemen, we'll let the kids go wild on all the new Christmas outdoor things (new swings, slip and slide and wading pool) and we'll get stuck in.

So I started to experiment this week - you know, because I don't want to give my guests something heinous and of course I want to share with you !  (I really needed those drinks too after the month I've had too - ahem!)

So here we go:
Martini Rosato:  It's a crisp, dry rosato and at 15% alcohol content - it packs a punch! Whoah Mamma.
Hubby likes it just over ice, and they recommend you pair it with the Martini Prosecco (even more dry) over ice with raspberries... it was a bit too dry for me...

So I got cracking - I've tried a few different combinations and I have to say my favourite so far is the Rosato with apple, pomegranate and cranberry juice and mint - delicious! (and looks very festive too) I mix 1 part Martini Rosato to six parts juice... and sprinkle some mint in... or what I like to do is freeze mint in the icecube! Cute right?

Do you punch?  What's your Christmas tipple?


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