Tuesday, May 31

Home Cook Giveaway this month at Frills in the Hills

We all love to cook right?  But sometimes we're a bit short of time or a bit lacking in inspiration.  It happens to the best of us and it just takes a TV show sometimes, or a good flick through a recipe book or magazine to get that inspiration and the beautiful food follows!

This month TWO lucky readers will win a Home cooking package worth $325!!  That should have you inspired and making some wonderful winter warmers in your house!


Breville Fast Slow Cooker:
6 litre capacity with a non-stick cooking bowl, this is a pressure cooker AND slow cooker in ONE UNIT.  How good is that?  (Rest assured the lid has a steam releasing button and safety locking lid which can't be removed whilst in pressure cooking mode.)  RRP:  $199.95 you can find out more about what it can do here

Neil Perry's Fast Fresh and Simple DVD (Released on 15th June) with thanks to Lifestyle and Madman Entertainment
Relaxed, informative and with not a chef’s outfit in sight, Neil Perry Fresh & Fast is all about making sensational meals in minutes. It’s the kind of food Neil cooks at home – and now you can too!

Bills Food DVD (Released 15th June) with thanks to Lifestyle and Madman Entertainment
Filled with no-fuss recipes using easy to find ingredients, Bills Food ensures that everyone can prepare his appealing and delicious food. Bill shows how to cook meals for every occasion, whether it’s his cheat’s guide to entertaining in style or how to prepare meals that won’t break the bank and perfect dishes for two.

Plus three Commonsense Cookery books!
Over 1,000 recipes on baking, quick and easy and general cookery - this should keep you inspired for a while!

1 package will  be given away on Facebook - details here:

1 package here on the blog - you will need to:

  • Leave a comment with a link of your favourite Frills in the Hills recipe and why you love it/want to try it! (one entry)
  • Tweet about this giveaway on twitter with the hashtag #frillyhomecook and a link to this giveaway for an extra entry (you can do this once a week)
  • You can enter the Facebook giveaway separately to the above also.
  • Bloggers may gain an extra entry by blogging about and linking this giveaway too (and post your link as a comment!) 
Boring bits
Entrants must have an Australian postal address
Blog entries close midnight 30th June

Bloke food - Oven baked maple pork ribs

My husband is mad for ribs and really as much as I like them they really are a 'man's meal'.    If hubby is having mates over (very rare) or there's a footy game he'd like to watch - I always include the ribs.  These ones are easy to set and forget and the kids just go mad for them - cut them up into individual ribs with kitchen shears and let them go for it!  The sauce is sweet and sticky but not in an overly way as some ribs tend to be.

800g (or three racks) of pork ribs
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tb chilli sauce (or you could use 1/4 tsp Tabasco)
1 tb red wine vinegar
1 onion, grated
2 tsp dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c

Mix all marinade ingredients and pour over ribs

Bake for one hour, but baste a few times (say at 20mins and 40mins) to ensure it doesn't dry out...!


Monday, May 30

Pressure cooker recipe: Quick, hearty, healthy soup

Yesterday I was back to my days with newborn twins:  Up to my eyeballs in nappies and living on 3 hours sleep.  Except I didn't have any babies.  Confused?  Well - I manned the Bubblebubs (modern cloth nappy) store for Mathilda's market - didn't get to bed until quite late and up early to get everything in the car, the kids up, fed, dressed and at the market at 7.15am.

The market was fun, it's always lovely to see and spend time with Corrie who had an adjoining stall.  When I got home in the afternoon I set upon getting organised for the week - school uniforms, homework, meal plan... oh and then I realised:  I forgot to soak my great northern beans I had planned to use for tonight's dinner.  

Great northern beans you can pick at most deli's and some fruit and vege shops.  They are similar to a cannellini or navy beans (what baked beans are made from) but they are pretty much flavour-less on their own so carry the flavour of whatever you you cook it with really well.  I pair them with chorizo a lot for this reason.  They are good on the budget too - about $2 for a 500g.  This recipe only uses 250g and makes enough for 8 people.

So I thought I'd make up one and use that pressure cooker I love so much and use too seldom.  So no-need to soak overnight or boil for 5 hours - bless that pressure cooker - saved the day!

Serves 8-10 
250 dried great northern beans
1 cup shredded cabbage
3 carrots, thinly sliced
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 large brown onion, diced
2 smoked chorizos, finely sliced
4 shortcut rashers bacon, diced
4 litres beef stock
leaves from 10cm stalk fresh rosemary
400g tin diced tomatoes

2 tb tomato paste

Put all your ingredients into your pressure cooker with the exception of your tomatoes and tomato paste.

Secure the lid of your pressure cooker and cook with vent open for 1 hour.

Remove from the hob, run your pressure cooker under water until it stops steaming.

Return to the hob, add tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for about 20 more minutes.
And there it is!  Two family meals in no time, and no soaking beans!  Thank you pressure cooker!
NOTE:  You can make this recipe in about the same time using a stockpot on the stove - using soaked or tinned beans of your choice.

Sunday, May 29

The 'Bake up' and the Hang over diaries

Hello everyone!

Now this one will have a few of you questioning me why on earth I would put this on the blog but I assure you I have my reasons.  You see, I don't really drink these days - in fact I can count on two hands the number of occasions I've drunk since I got married.  Kids are the ultimate turn off to big nights out or a 'night on the turps' aren't they?

In my younger days I was quite fond of the odd cocktail.  One of my best friends was a nurse and I'll just say we were bad influences on each other....  We lived quite close and infact my house was enroute from our watering holes and she lived in the nursing quarters at the local hospital.   Her cure for the almighty hangover was a litre of water a can of coke and a mars bar.  She rationalised this covered off any sugar levels plummeting and dehydration.  I used to rely on a falafel roll and a ton of water when I got home.. and then usually a berocca the next day.

Some days we'd wonder down to a local cafe and partake in a fry-up.  This would normally always, usually do the trick if all else has failed.    A fry up was a regular Sunday thing at my parents house on a Sunday too, but it's not really one in this house.  We'd probably have some form of homemade pastry or pancake. I do love a poached egg on turkish toast on occasion though.

This kind of dish is really a staple of middle america which is a bit scary but if you're up for it, it's a great one for a hangover.  I think a good fry up requires a bit of co-ordination in timing and certainly not something I'd be doing well after a big night... this is a perfect alternative.  Kids can help too.

Ingredients:  Serves 8
8 Hashbrowns
2  medium tins Salt reduced baked beans (there is enough salt in the rest of the ingredients so please, at least cut down the salt in this bit!)
8 button mushrooms, sliced/diced
8 lean sausages or 300g lean sausage mince
2 tsp white pepper
2 large tomatoes, sliced
3/4 cup grated tasty cheese
8 slices shortcut bacon

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c

Take sausage mince out of casings (if you have a hangover, get your 7 year old to do it like I did) and fry up the mince with 1 tsp of white pepper.  Drain, set aside.

Layer your hashbrowns along the bottom of your baking dish.

Spread your baked beans evenly along.

Then add your mushrooms

Then add your sausage and sprinkle it with the other tsp white pepper

Add tomato

then cheese

and lastly the bacon.

Cover with foil, but only to the edges of the baking dish.   Bake for 30 minutes (at this point take more panadol if you can or drink more water/berocca).

Remove foil, and bake for a further ten minutes.


So friends, tell me what is your hangover cure?  Do you even need one?

Saturday, May 28

Roast mixed vegetables with oregano, balsamic and halloumi

I know some of you are literally gagging for some vegetable recipes - but I'm pretty boring when it comes to the world of side-dishes and this is something I need to extend myself with.  

If you're not a fan of 'squeaky cheese' as my frills call it (halloumi) - this would be great with swiss cheese or even blue cheese... actually I'm going to try that!    I served this beside some baked barramundi - delicious - but could easily be a meal for any vegetarian - you may want to add capsicum if you're a fan too - my hubby is allergic so it's not in ours... doesn't mean you couldn't add it!

500g pumpkin, peeled and roughly sliced/diced
2 red onions, peeled and cut into quarters
500g new potatoes (I used desiree) diced into thick chunks
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano (or fresh if you have it!)
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tb olive oil
2 tb balsmic vinegar
handful of baby spinach
250g halloumi cheese, sliced finely
3 tb pine nuts

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c
In a baking dish throw in your pumpkin, potato, onion pepper, oregano and olive oil and give it a good toss to ensure all is coated.

Bake for 25 minutes, remove and sprinkle over the balsamic over the top, then layer the halloulmi over the top.  Return to the oven for another 5 minutes, then add your pine-nuts.  

Bake for another 5 minutes, remove and serve!  Enjoy your weekend all xx


Friday, May 27

Are you on Pinterest? We're having a giveaway this weekend !

I have only just gotten into pinterest but oh MY.  You could spend forever on it!

What is pinterest?
You 'pin' or bookmark sites or webpages that interest you - you can categorise pinterest pages - things like 'recipes'  'sewing'  'books'  'research' 'holidays' 'parenting' 'craft' 'renovating' 'funny stuff' 'photography' oh you could go on and on and ON.

But what's so good about it?
You never have to lose anything - it will pin any URL you can find.

What else can you do on it?
You can connect to your friends and see what they are pinning.  It also has an iPhone and iPad app too.

Frills in the Hills is on Pinterest... you can follow here if you like....

and all these lovely people are pinning Frills in the Hills on Pinterest too - THANK YOU!

And today - you may have noticed that lovely red button at the top of the posts 'pin it' which means Frills is pinterest-ingly friendly!  I'm SO EXCITED!

To celebrate we're giving away:
2 x 4 volume sets of Dirtgirlworld DVDs! valued at $79.80 a set courtesy of Madman 
1 x Snow White and the Seven Dwarves DIAMOND Edition valued at $50 (this includes DVD + BluRay)
1 x Pinocchio PLATINUM Edition valued at $50 (includes DVD+BluRay)

So to win you need to:
1.  Use pinterest - sign up here*
2.  Pin a BLOG post from Frills in the Hills - and in the pin say something about it - i.e. why you like it, if you've tried it etc.
3.  Pin THIS post on Pinterest (you can delete once the winner is announced if you like :) )
4.  Pin a the prize page of which one you MOST want to win (just choose one!) of the above DVD packs - and say WHO you want to win it for :)

Boring bits:
  • You have until midnight Sunday 29th May 2011 AEST to pin/enter.
  • You must have an Australian postal address

*sometimes it takes a little time for your pinterest sign-on to come through, if that's the case for you, don't worry, there's going to be another pinterest giveaway next weekend - you won't miss out! xx

Try it this weekend: Pork belly with sage, pancetta and apples

Fridays are such a mixed bag in this house.   There's generally an air of relief that the working and school week is coming to an end and if we're lucky, there's at some point in the next few days we can stop and relax - not have to rush somewhere or have a gajillion things to remember to get ready.

But also on Friday, with two five year olds and an almost seven year old everyone's a bit over it and it's a struggle to get out the door to school.  Everyone is tired and whingey.  But once they are at school my mood picks up and I start to think about the weekend - and especially in the colder weather - what I can cook.

My friend Lorraine sent me this cookbook because she thought it was me, and looking through it, I can see why.  It's full of family-type winter warmers.   I took one look at the pork belly with sage, pancetta and apples recipe and knew I had to make it.

So it went on the mealplan and onto my shopping list for farmgate - and I picked up a lovely pork belly with crackling from my butcher for $19.

It reminds me a little of le pork roast - especially with the baked apples element but it does have it's own extremely tasty flavour and family friendly - everyone loved it.  It's moist and even if you are not wanting to partake in the crackling (oh lovely crackling...drool) you can find some lovely lean pork the base of the pork belly too.  We had loads of leftovers which hubby happily ate for lunches and on sambos for a few days.

So if you're out and about this weekend, grab yourself some pork belly and make this - you'll have some pork for sandwiches for the week too!

12 cloves garlic
3 brown onions, cut in half
2 tsp fennel seeds
10 sage leaves, roughly chopped
Enough pancetta to cover your pork belly
4 small red apples
cooking twine

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c
Place garlic in a oven proof dish (I used a ramekin) and sprinkle about 1 tsp oil over the top - roast in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Remove, cool for 10 minutes and remove the skins.  Place the pulp in a mortar and pestle or a mini processor.

Mix with 1 tsp of fennel seeds, crush seeds and mix in with the garlic until it becomes paste-like.

Meanwhile, put your belly skin side up on a tray or cooling tray over a sink.  Cut some slits in the top and boil a full jug of water in the kettle.  When it boils, pour it over the pork belly rind - this softens it up.  Drain about 5 minutes.

Rub in the garlic and fennel paste.

Cover with your pancetta.

On a cutting board or clean surface sprinkle the remaining fennel seeds, sage and lay out some cooking twine in a snake-like configuration - so the loop height is roughly about 5cm more than the height of your pork belly.

Place your pork belly pancetta side down on top of the twine and take up the ends and thread them through the loops, securing the pancetta onto the pork belly.  Continue until it's all tied together then sprinkle left-over sage and fennel seeds on top.

Oil a baking tray and place the pork belly in there pancetta side up.  Next add your onions in the pan.
Place in the oven for 30 minutes to allow the top to crisp up.
Then score your apples with a knife to ensure they don't explode in the oven (no one wants that right?)

Turn the oven down to 150 degrees c.
Add apples to the pan, give the pork a good baste and bake for another 2 1/4 hours, basting every 45 minutes.

Corrr!  Look at THAT! Yum right?  Remove the pork belly, apples and onions from the tray.  Allow the pork to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

That gives you enough time to make gravy with the pan.  Put it on the hob and add some cornflour mixed in milk, watch over it and whisk it in.



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