Wednesday, March 28

Slowcooker BBQ pork - 3 ingredients!

A busy Mama just doesn't have time sometimes to lovingly cook a meal for an hour or more - sometimes it's got to be quick and dirty.  This is one-such-recipe.  Bung it in, throw a couple of things in and walk away.   It taste absolutely delicious and leftovers for lunch on bread rolls (or even hot on buttered roll...drool!).

1 boneless pork shoulder (mine was 1.2kg)
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup brown sugar

Put your pork shoulder in the slow cooker, pour over the Worcestershire sauce over the top and then pack the brown sugar on top.

Place on high for first hour, remove cover and baste, then turn down the slowcooker to low for a further 3-4 hours.

Serve and dribble sauce over the top, it will literally fall apart and melt in your mouth!  I serve this with leftover lazy-as-sin potatoes!

Monday, March 26

Lazy-as-sin slowcooker scalloped potatoes

Man I love my slowcooker.  This past couple of weeks I've been a bit obsessed with it.  I finally too my own advice and got the Breville flavour maker slowcooker (I've been telling everyone else to buy for near on two years).  What I love about it is how you can use the inner on the stove and transfer to the oven afterwards if you like too.  Brilliant.

This one I chucked together Friday afternoon in less than 10 minutes and served with my homemade swedish meatballs.   I even had leftovers for Sunday's dinner too!

1kg new potatoes, sliced (I left skin on)
1 brown onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 tin cream of anything soup (I used celery but mushroom, chicken, asparagus anything would be good!)
1/4 cup lite sour cream
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup tasty cheese (optional)

Place potatoes, onion and garlic in your slow cooker.

Roughly mix your soup, sour cream and milk in a jug and pour over the top.

Put lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5. For the last 30 minutes sprinkle over the cheese...

Crisp up until the grill for 10 minutes if you like!

The Frills in the Hills Autumn cleanout checklist

Hello friends!

After a weekend dedicated to the Annual Autumn clean-out that I normally do just before Easter I realise working I just don't have time to do it all at once and secondly before making myself a list I thought I would never get through it, but I've done my list and I'm working my way through it so I thought I'd share it with you and you could join me for the ride (and even give me some of your tips!)....

Here's my list:

  • I prune my prolific growers - jasmine and gardenia- really just to give them shape, just a small trim really but it now looks a lot better!
  • Clean out your summer harvests if you have some - get your tomatoes gone if they haven't done that by themselves already - here's some ideas to preserve your glut
  • I give my herbs a bit of a haircut too, not a major one, just again the prolific growers like mint and oregano.


  • Bulbs for spring before it gets too cold.  We're planting some daffodils.
  • If you have a vege garden, now's the time to be planting your carrots, brussel sprouts and cabbages - here's other suggestions too


  • The lawn, your plants and your trees.  Especially feed your flowers that will bloom in spring.
Our passionfruit got a good feed this weekend, isn't it glorious!?

  • Clean out the gutters whilst its dry - nothing worse than having your roof cave in because you have stuff caught in your gutter (happened to us almost, next-door neighbours cricket ball!)

Sweep and Rake:

  • This would have to be the most thankless job of the autumn, because just as soon as you've done it, you need to do it again, make it a once-a month job. 


  • The exterior of the house - we have a karcher but any guerney will do - you can hire them cheaply if you don't have one or a friend to loan you one, ask your neighbour or friend if they want to split the cost... it takes no time to do and you can give your deck/entertaining area and driveway a good once-over too.
  • Also if you have any outdoor furniture it's a good time to give that a clean and seal if it's wooden - Wash all cushions and store in the garage for spring if you don't think you'll be outside much in Autumn.

  • Time to get rid of that stuff sitting in your garage that you've been meaning to take to the tip... that space you will need for the car and other outdoor stuff you may want to store undercover over winter

  • Your oven - before you get those casseroles and puddings and baked treats in there, give it a good clean.
  • Your bedding, before it gets too cold or wash your doonas, blankets, throws and cushions.  Get them dry-cleaned before the rush if that's what you prefer.  If they were cleaned at the end of last spring and you haven't used them, just give them an air on the washing line for a few hours.
  • Light fittings, because you'll be using more artificial light during winter, pull them apart, give the shades a good once over, keep them bright.
  • Cobwebs - you probably haven't noticed them, but make it a habit to seek them out at least once a month - you can use a broom brushed with lemon oil to deter the spiders from coming back.
  • Walls - clean from bottom to top to avoid streaks but I just do this with a vileda sponge that has the non-scratch scourer on it and some warm water with liquid sugar soap, you notice the difference straight away- pay note to light switches and power points too - they get a bit grotty!
  • Defrost your freezer, and get rid of any food you don't recognise or looks a bit dodgy!
  • Now's the time to have your fireplace or heating serviced if you need to (before the price-hike!) get your firewood sorted or just clean the filters in your heaters.
  • Your coffee machine if you have one - you can get DIY descaling kits online.

  • Clothes you don't wear anymore, clothes your kids don't fit anymore - donate or list on ebay - but if you haven't listed after 2 weeks, donate!! 
  • Pantry goods that are out of date
  • Plastic containers you've been saving for a 'rainy day'.
  • Books and magazines you've read that you're not likely to read or refer to again
  • Toys and Board games that are missing pieces
Look at my donation pile!  This is going to Salvation Army/Freecycle, and this is HALF of what I started with (already freecycled a bit!) I also took about the same to the tip!


  • Hand-me down clothes and toys for later - I find spacebags work best.  Store them above wardrobes, under beds or in trunks.  Don't forget to label the contents and sizes!
  • Outdoor furniture/soft furnishings/portable fans.

So friends, feel free to add your tips or your thoughts - do you do an Autumn Clean?  Are you motivated to do one?  I'm about 1/3 of the way through mine, and on track to finish before winter, are you keen to join me?

Saturday, March 17

These boots...

are not only made for walking, they're making mummy realise how much her frills are growing up!

Last year I promised faithfully this winter my girls could have some knee-high boots.    A promise is a promise but waaaah they are so grown up in them!

My big girl Eloise is now seven going on seventeen.     I can't believe how big she is now and the things she comes out with!  'Mum, when can I walk home from school by myself?' "Mum, I need an iPhone'  I'm not ready!!

Laura is still her cheeky hilarious first but she also has her devious side...and she certainly lives up to the reputation those fiery red-heads have -but she is always kind and quick with a compliment and makes friends easily - socially I never have to worry about Laura... what a poser!
 And my little sensitive one, Olivia - though these days these boots could be mistaken for bossy boots, she  is getting a bit bossy especially at home.  She likes it the way she likes it, and I have to say she gets that from me... so I totally understand her need to be in control!  That said she does have the sweetest side and is very empathetic and sensitive to others..such a sweetheart.

As they say, they grow up too fast!

Thursday, March 15

The 'Quik' Fairy-fabulous self saucing pudding - in less than 10 minutes!

A busy mum like me doesn't have time these days for recipes that take lots of time.  That doesn't mean I don't like to cook and I don't like to spend time in the kitchen, I do love experimenting and of course time in the kitchen with my frills is always fun.

Olivia asked me for 'pink pudding' on the weekend and to be honest I was a bit stumped but I remembered that I had some Nestle Quik powder - I think I bought it for a treat for afternoon playdates with friends last year and forgot about it... so seemed like the perfect candidate to substitute for sugar in a sauce saucing pudding.

Using the microwave is the quickest way to get your pudding done, if you don't have a microwave, just bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.

1/2 cup milk
125g melted butter
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup quik (you could use any flavour you like!)
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/4 cup quik, extra

Get your helper to add milk, melted butter into a bowl.

sift in your flour and quik

Now for those of you freaking about artificial colours/flavours, you may be surprised to know that nesquik has none!  I know I was!

Whisk it all up!

Good luck prying it away from your little chef!

Press into a greased microwave proof dish

Pour water over the top and sprinkle the last of the quik...

Microwave for 6 1/2 minutes on high, I sprinkled some edible glitter on top but use 100's and 1,000's if you like :)

Serve with custard or cream, great quik-fix on a cold day or just when you've got a hankering for something sweet!

Pretty damned yummy actually, not too sweetly-sickly at all!

Monday, March 12

Warm Pizza Dip and the multi-national-pot-luck-dinner

Hello everyone I hope your weekend has left you well rested and ready to tackle another week.  These weekends for me go waaaay too fast. Way too fast!

I spent Saturday morning at the hairdresser with the laptop on my lap, then seeing my Nan and then we went to catch the Gymboree sale at Parramatta - not a very short trip but we did get some very cute items, I promised my Mum I would take some photos of their fashion parade, so I may share those with you too.  My frills are growing up SO fast.

Sunday I spent some time cooking - at present Pinterest is a major source of cooking inspiration to me and when I saw this pizza dip on there I knew then and there I would be making it and soon.  In fact I made it only hours later.   It's a great simple recipe that hasn't done the rounds as much as spinach/french onion cob loaf or seven layer dip.  This is incredibly simple and dangerously addictive.

Great to have a with a few wines or take to a gathering - which is what I did - our office is always a flurry with colleagues visiting/staying here in Sydney from all corners of the world we all got together for 'multinational pot luck' night.  It was really fun and delicious, and I'm sure we'll do it again.

Chicken Masala, Beef Rendang, Malaysian Omelette, a tofu dish (I can't remember I don't eat tofu!), crispy duck, Chinese BBQ pork, rice.. salads.. amazing!

But OK, let's get back to the dip!  
Adapted from Closet Cooking

250g Philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 jar pizza sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, extra
1/4 cup tasty cheese
1/8 cup finely grated parmesan
olives, optional

Preheat oven to 180 degrees c
Mix together philadelphia cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream,1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.  Spread over the base of a quiche or pie tin.

When it's even, then spread over a pasta sauce - I used woolworth

Then top with remaining mozzarella and tasty cheese, place the pepperoni and olives on top and grate over the remaining parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until bubbly on top.  Serve with pita bread or as I did white corn chips

Look at my friends hoe into it, gone in seconds!

Saturday, March 3

Oven baked Jerk Chicken

I've often come across recipes for 'Jamaican Jerk' chicken and think 'what the..?' but what the 'jerk' really refers to is the way the meat is slit or cut to absorb marinade.  This recipe is a super-easy one and I think I will be making this up in bulk in the marinade and storing it in the freezer.  Easy to pull out, defrost and 'bung in the oven'.  Even if you don't go down that route, to make it all up really does take no time at all.  This time I marinaded for only 30 minutes and had it on the table 1 hour later.

You can spice this up as much as you like, as I was trying this recipe out for the first time I thought I would tone down the chilli for my frills - they like chilli but I thought I would play it safe.  I think next time I'll ramp it up a bit, but you know know what you like, go with what you think is best.

I adapted this recipe from 'Cook Express' by Guy Mirabella. I love this cookbook, I got it from one of those liquidation book sales, so if you find it - pick it up!  I found a copy of it in Philippines and gave it to a colleague and his fiance as an engagement present, it's like the encyclopaedia of quick fix meals!

1.5 kg chicken pieces
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 red and 1 green chilli, de-seeded and chopped
handful of coriander
handful of italian parsley
2 stalks thyme
3tb brown sugar
2tb vegetable oil
1tb cracked pepper
1tsp sea salt
1 tin of sliced pineapple

Score some slits into your chicken about 5mm thick and place into a ziplock bag.

Zest your limes (I just want to show off my microplane, I love this for zesting!)

Put the rest of the ingredients besides the pineapple and chicken in a food processor and give it a good whizz!

Now it looks like sludge, but it's delicious sludge, put it on top of your chicken in the ziplock bag...

Squeeze the air out of the ziplock bag, zip it up and give it a good shake and make sure the marinade is well distributed all over the chicken.  Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight if you like..

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c.

Place the chicken in a baking dish and place the chicken in the bottom.  Lay the pineapple rings over the top of the chicken and pour roughly half the juice from the tin over the top of the chicken.

Bake for 1 hour.  Serve with rice or salad



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