Sunday, May 13

Easy-as Beef 'n' Guiness Stew

This weekend I'm inviting my workmates over to my home to mark Food Revolution Day.  Most of us are foodies or at least love eating food, so gatherings with us and food are always fun ones.   What's so great about our gatherings over food is also that we represent so many backgrounds - Filipino, Malaysian, Spanish, Venezuelan, Indian, Middle Eastern - and of course me - a bit of everything.  The challenge is for all my guests to bring something that they love to eat or cook that's made from scratch.

Food Revolution Day is about getting back to basics, reinforcing or discovering where our food comes from - and raising money to go into programs that helps educate kids to make healthier choices and have that understanding about where food comes from - you all know a cause I am most passionate about!

So given this is a revolution run by and inspired by Jamie Oliver I thought I would try and spread the world and inspire you also to register a dinner party an even or go along to one..

So onto the recipe - This is adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution Cookbook 'basic stew' recipe - beef and ale variation.... I found a lovely blade roast reduced at the supermarket so used that - you can use any kind of stewing steak - blade steak, gravy beef etc.  

1kg blade steak
2 large onions, diced
4 large carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 bay leaves
2 tb plain flour
1 420g tin peeled tomatoes
500ml guinness or stout of choice

Using a blade roast meant I could dice it consistently.. Luckily I got two - because I like doing it that way!
Good right?

Try and dice all your veges at roughly the same size, helps them cook evenly.. (carrots are from our garden, soo sweet and lovely!)

Ok, so get started and slosh some oil in the bottom of a heavy based pan or frypan with a lid.  Add your veges and cook them until the onions become transparent and the veges have 'sweated' (i.e. glisten)

Add the meat, bay leaves and flour, toss it around well.

Whilst that is cooking, add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes until meat is totally browned..

Next add in your Guinness - or stout.. it will foam up a little at first and then simmer down.

Turn down the hob to it's lowest and put the lid on, or put in the oven (again with lid on) at 160 degrees c.. your choice!

Cook for about 2.5 hours - give it a bit of stir at the 1 hour and 2 hour marks...

I served mine with baked garlic and rosemary potatoes, but you could do mash or rice if you like..

Have I inspired you at all?

Maybe you could make it at your own Food Revolution Day dinner party?

If you can't go along to one or can't host one, you can still contribute - you can donate here to the Food Revolution via my dinner party!

Easiest Raspberry baked custard pudding EVER.

Bless that Martha Stewart.  Honestly, bless her cotton socks.   I just adore this recipe and I'm going to use it a lot.  A LOT I tell you.  It's super easy and so delicious I can hardly stand it.  It's also totally adaptable.  I'm going to make it with tinned peaches... and another time maybe pears and ginger.. and then another with.. gosh I could go on and on.. and on.

We had this today for Mothers Day with my Nan.  I originally had plans for Victoria Sponge but that went awry when I realised that I had run out of time.. this turned out so much easier and much more fitting as I wasn't captive in the kitchen and got to spend as much time with my Nan and my girls as possible.


3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tb vanilla extract
65g butter
2 punnets fresh raspberries (you could use 2 cups frozen)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c

Put the butter in the bottom of your baking dish (I used a small round cake tin) and into your oven for 2-3 minutes until it's melted.

Whilst it's melting, get busy with your blender.  To milk, eggs and vanilla extract, add sugar..

Your flour...

When your butter is melted, pour it into your blender and then brush the rest around the pan to ensure it's totally covered and greased..

Whizz for 30 seconds...

Pour into your tray..

Plop in your raspberries (or other fruit you're using)..

Look at that! YUM!

Bake for 35-40 minutes until cooked in the centre.

Serve with double cream or icecream!

And here's a little bit of my Mother's day... homemade pressies!  I got two of these - so I can always publish what dinner AND dessert is (benefits of having twins!)

Thursday, May 10

Pecking order of twins...

When my twins were babies I did a stint as a PR Director (volunteer of course) for the Australian Multiple Birth Association.  It is a great organisation where you get 'support from those who know' and at my local chapter just being in the company of those with twins and triplets older than mine I had some hope I would have time one day to wash my hair and have more than a 5 second shower and more than 2 hours sleep.

As the PR Director nationally when it came to National Birth Awareness Week I organised a few publicity events - The Today Show, Channel 10 Evening news in Sydney, Kerrie-Ann (yes, me and my family were on Kerrie-Ann) Ready Steady Cook and even 2 sets of quadruplets playing each other on Family Feud...

The families of quads I found were utterly amazing - the parents seemed so calm and proud and their family units were so tight.. but with one family in particular there was a strong sense of pecking order.  Although as babies they were all born by caesarian section and within 4 minutes of each other from there was no illusion amongst them all who was the 'eldest' and who was the 'youngest'.

This I found so interesting because the youngest of the four being a girl was termed as 'the baby' and treated that way where the eldest, a boy was the natural leader of the siblings.

It perplexed me.  I didn't want one of my girls feeling like they had something over the other one and when I discussed this with hubby we agreed - we wouldn't tell them or people who didn't know (close family and friends who we briefed that we wouldn't tell them).  So our girls have always grown up with no real birth order 'older/younger' twin thing in their vocabulary.  There's no greater responsibility with being the 'eldest' twin or leniency with the 'youngest' twin.  They are equal.

When people ask me in front of them 'Who is the eldest?' I let them answer:

'We're twins, we're born on the same day'.
'But which one of you were born first?'
'Both of us'.

Love the gappy mouths!

I truly don't understand the fascination about this with others - my girls say 'Eloise is the big sister and we're the little sisters'.  That's enough don't you think?

Of course there's going to be a time they will know - it's on their birth certificates 'older or twins/younger of twins'...

If you have or know twins - do the twins know?  Do you think it has a bearing on their relationship with each other or within the family/outside the family?

Monday, May 7

Karma or chance, what do you think?

source: pinterest

I love this saying because it's so true, and I've found the best things in my life have happened completely by chance and when I was least expecting it...

My hubby came along when I didn't want a relationship - well that didn't work!

Twins came into my life of course completely by chance and although it's been a challenge along the way it's endearing to see how close they are... like just now, I sneaked in to give them a good night kiss and there they are, in the same bed of their bunks, cuddled up.

My career which I do love is something I fell into just purely by circumstances - many years ago now... so happy I did.

Do you believe in karma or life being a string of happy (or not so happy) accidents?

Sunday, May 6

The day when Tim Tams grew on trees

On Wednesday I was at The Truly, Madly Tim Tam Orchard as a guest of Arnott’s Tim Tam.

I mean honestly - Tim Tam invite you to an event.. you go, right?  I haven't been to any bloggy events in ages because I haven't been in the country or I've been too busy but I just had to make time for this one!  I'm so glad I did.

Tim Tam invited Sydney-siders to come and claim their free Tim Tams from their Tim Tam Orchard in Martin Place to not only share the Tim Tam love but also explore the statement posed by a Tim Tam Facebook Fan.. 'I wish Tim Tams grew on trees'.

I posted on my Facebook page and asked Twitter 'what's your favourite Tim Tam variety?'.  So many responded the original but me, I love the choc-mint or the black forest (in the fridge). Someone even posted they like to milkshakes with theirs.. so of course I had to try that..

Verdict - not so sure...  It made the biscuit bit a bit too soggy for me... but hey it tastes unmistakeably tim-tam-ish!!

I have also made Tim Tam Cake here:

So I headed up to Martin Place on Wednesday and the orchard was fantastic and all the punters loved it - such a clever marketing campaign.. when I arrived at 4pm they had handed out 60,000 packets of Tim Tams!!  When peak hour hit at 5pm it was mayhem and literally all the 'farmers' in the orchard found it hard to keep up with demand and pallet after pallet after pallet was generously handed out to the public.

At day's end I believe 100,000 packets of tim tams where gloriously envoyed with Sydney-siders everywhere.

The vibe was fantastic - especially around the large Tim Tam tree - which was central to the TV ad being shot there also.. it had names of Tim Tam Facebook likers ... tried to find my name.. but I guess there's a lot of us!

I asked passers-by what they like about Tim Tams:

'Part of the Australian Identity'
'Great hit for a chocoholic'
'Fun for Tim Tam Slams'

(here's Jennifer Love Hewitt's instructional video!)

but I had so many people say 'what DON'T I like about Tim Tams?'.

When I got back to my office and let them know where I'd been, within 5 minutes the office was albeit silent - they had all rushed to Martin Place!  Look at these happy faces!
Our colleagues from The Philippines and Malaysia will be spreading the good tim-tam word!

I reckon the only way you could improve on a Tim Tam Tree is by putting 100 buck note in each pack.  That would be brilliant - that way you would get money AND tim-tams whenever you wanted!

If you could choose something to grow on trees what would it be?


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