Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Have you heard the news . . .. .

it's pretty sad (from the Buzz and Bloom Blog)

Buzz and Bloom is Closing

Since it's beginnings in 2003, Buzz and Bloom has operated as a small part of a family-owned company. Over the years we've seen many 'versions' of the business. We've done many things... starting with albums, moving into unmounted rubber stamps, a retail webstore, introducing chipboard to our range, going wholesale only, taking our range to CHA and winning first prize in the Innovations Showcase for our denim and cord products and so much more...
It's time again for a change. Buzz and Bloom as we know it is currently closed. In the wake of the illness of one of our family members/directors of the company, we are focusing our resources into other areas of the company. So we're closing our manufacturing and wholesale business for now.
For me this signifies a bit of a life change. I know that may sound slightly dramatic, but for a while now, the only scrapbooking projects I have been doing are the ones for B&B DT. I have loved every minute of creating with all of the inspirational products and really want to thank Div for the opportunity to serve on the DT with those amazingly talented ladiesBut I feel the need to take a break from scrapping and follow some different creative pursuits. 
I really want to learn how to sew (properly and not just on scrapbooking layouts!) I want to concentrate on some home decorating ideas I've had bubbling away for a while now. And cooking! I'm hoping this blog will become a little bit of a home cooking inspiration site (well, that's rather ambitious I'll admit - but hey, we all gotta have dreams).
They say that when a door closes, somewhere a window opens so I choose to look for the window and climb out into the light :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recipe Share - Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This seems to be our family's stand by for using up over-ripe bananas. In fact I suspect that some bananas get left to go bad just so that I have to make this :) The original recipe for the cake comes from Donna Hay Modern Classics 2. The cream cheese frosting is my own addition, and a rework on an old classic. The inclusion of vanilla makes this extra special and irresistible.
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Cake
    • 125 g unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup caster sugar
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ¾ cup sour cream
    • 1 cup roughly mashed banana
For the Frosting
    • 60 g Cream cheese, softened
    • 30 g unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup icing sugar
    • 1-2 teaspoon lemon juice
    • lemon zest
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well. Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture. Add the cinnamon, sour cream and banana and stir to combine. Spoon the mixture into a greased 26cm (10 in) fluted ring tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool on a wire rack.

For the Frosting
In a small bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth and well combined. Add the vanilla. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating well between additions. Add enough lemon juice to bring the mixture to a smooth, but firm consistency.
Spread generously over the cooled cake, sprinkle with lemon zest and just try to resist!

(Serves 8)

Download Printer Friendly Version.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Recipe Share - Butter Tandoori Chicken with Wilted Garlic Baby Spinach

Wow, that's a mouthful! But you better believe a delicious mouthful :)
I first tried this when Meg made it for our cooking club. So delicious I had to get the recipe. The original recipe comes from taste.com.au, I have added the baby spinach to introduce some greens for a more balanced meal.

Butter Tandoori Chicken with Wilted Garlic Baby Spinach
For the Chicken
    • 1 tablespoon Welly Boot Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 500g chicken thigh, cubed
    • 3 tablespoons Tandoori paste
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 375ml can lite evaporated milk
    • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cornflour
    • 15g butter
For the Spinach
    • 150g Baby Spinach, washed and drained
    • 1 clove garlic
    • ¼ cup water
    • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Heat oil in a frying pan, add chicken and cook for 2 minutes.
Add Tandoori paste and tomato paste and stir until chicken is coated.
Combine the evaporated milk, sugar and cornflour and pour over chicken, mixing well.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add butter and stir until melted.
Garnish with flaked almonds. Serve with steamed basmati rice.

While the chicken is simmering, place the water and garlic in a large pot  and bring to the boil. Add the spinach leaves, immediately cover the pot and turn off the heat. Leave for 3-5 minutes until just wilted. Squeeze lemon juice over wilted leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

(Serves 4)

The best tandoori paste I have found (and the one that Meg turned me on to) is "Maharaja's Choice" brand available from Coles.
This is pretty family friendly. But you can adjust the heat by adding more or less Tandoori paste. eg 1 tablespoon = mild, 2 tablespoons = medium, 3tablespoons = hot (for little kiddies anyway). Our kids like to mix in some plain yoghurt to turn the heat down if needed.

Download Printable Version

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Recipe Share - Quickie Cupcakes (thanks Ikea!)

Quickie Cupcakes
  • 2 cups Self-raising Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 125 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200℃
Line cupcake trays with liners
Sift flour sugar and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter, eggs, milk and vanilla.
Beat slowly for 1 minute. Increase speed and beat for two minutes.
Spoon batter into pre-prepared liners.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Top with your favourite icing.

(Serves 24)

Add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to dry ingredients
Fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips or sultanas before spooning into liners

Download recipe.

I am going to admit to something somewhat embarrassing. I quite literally made these cupcakes tday just so I could try out these that I picked up from Ikea on the weekend:

From Life

From Life

Sad? Maybe. Obsessive? Definitely! And it turns out they were super fun! You can fill the liners basically to the top, and the little recesses in the man stop the batter from spreading out. That means it goes up and you get these sky-high little tops!

I also picked up these while I was there:

From Life

From Life

From Life

From Life

And the whole trip cost me less than $70! Loving Ikea!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Recipe Share - Slow Cooker Osso Bucco

I know a lot of people prefer to just throw everything into the slow cooker with out "pre-browning". But the sight of anaemic, grey looking meat is a real turnoff for me. And it's not just the colour that is improved with this step, there is an added depth and richness of flavour that you just don't get without a little time in the frying pan first.

Osso Bucco is the meat from the shin of the animal (not the tail as many have been lead to believe). As the shin muscles are used a lot in a cow's lifetime, Osso Bucco MUST be slow cooked. But you do get  great big marrow bone right smack in the centre of the cut. So what does this mean? Cooked slowly in a casserole the meat is oh so tender, and the marrow adds a velvety richness to the gravy. Yum :)

Photo from Entice Magazine

Slow Cooker Osso Bucco
Original Recipe Source: Entice Magazine
  • 2 kg osso bucco, (6-8 pieces)
  • t tablespoon Welly Boot Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 2 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup tomato puree
Lemon and parsley garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely grated
  • 2 lemons, zest only
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
    1. Season the osso bucco with salt and pepper. Heat a large frypan over a medium-high heat, add a dash of oil. Brown the osso bucco in 2 or 3 batches, adding a little more oil as required. Remove each batch and place in slow cooker dish.

    2. Reduce heat in the pan, add a little oil, and the diced onion, carrot and celery, and cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    3. Sprinkle in flour and stir until the vegetables are coated. Gradually pour in the combined wine, puree and stock. Stir until the mixture boils, add bay leaf and then pour over the osso bucco. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8hours until the osso bucco is very tender. Sprinkle with the lemon and parsley garnish to serve.

    To make lemon and parsley garnish: Combine all ingredients and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.

    Cooktop method: Place the browned osso buco and other ingredients in a heavy based pot. Partially cover and keep heat low. Stir occasionally and add water if needed during the cooking time to keep ingredients well covered. Simmer until the meat is very tender.

    (Serves 6)

    Cooks Notes

    • Don’t rush the initial stage of browning the meat. This will make your casserole rich in colour and flavour. Brown the meat in small batches over a medium-high heat.

    • Simmer the casserole gently and taste it to see if it’s ready. Stir occasionally and adjust the heat as it cooks if needed. When it’s done the meat should be tender enough to fall apart easily with a fork.

    • Use the juices from the pot as a base for a rich gravy. Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, add the same amount of plain flour and stir briskly with a wooden spoon until it becomes a paste. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the pot juices, little by little, stirring well after each addition to avoid lumps. bring to the boil, reduce heat then simmer until desired thickness has been reached. NB omit lemon and parsley garnish.

    • A casserole will keep for up to 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Casseroles should be refrigerated immediately after the steam from cooking has evaporated. Place the hot casserole into a shallow container, and then into the fridge so it cools quickly. Do not leave it to cool completely on the bench. To serve bring it slowly to the boil over a medium heat, reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes, or until the meat and sauce are both thoroughly hot.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Recipe Share - Fettuccine Carbonara with Homemade Pasta

    If you read this post you will know that I am the proud owner of a new pasta machine. However, my first attempt was rubbish! I have found a new recipe (on the back of the 00 flour box!) and picked up a few tips along the way. And now SUCCESS :) And you don't even need a pasta machine. As long as you have a rolling pin that will allow you to get the dough thin enough, you should be fine!
    From Food
    Why buy it when you can make it yourself and it tastes this good!
    Homemade Pasta
    • 250 grams Pasta & Noodle Plain Flour (TIPO 00)
    •  Pinch salt
    • 1 tablespoon Welly Boot Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 2 egg
    • 3 egg yolks
    1. Place the flour and salt on a chopping board, make a well in the centre. Beat the eggs and egg yolks, place with olive oil in the well. Gradually work the flour from the sides and knead to form a dough
    2. Knead dough for one minute. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours (what!? see tip below)
    3. Cut dough into four pieces and roll through a pasta machine OR roll out into thin sheets
    4. Use pasta sheets for lasagne or cannelloni, or any other filled pasta OR cut into noodles
    5. Cooked filled pasta or noodles in boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes until cooked through

    (Serves 4)

    Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours!? I just chuck it in the freezer for as many minutes as I can spare. Usually while listening to the kids' reading, supervising homework or just getting on with preparing whatever sauce I want to accompany my pasta. That tends to be long enough.

    Try lightly dusting the dough with a little flour as you go through the pasta machine process. Lay the noodles out in a single layer on your benchtop while you are working. This will stop them all sticking together, and as long as you are cooking them straight away, they shouldn't dry out too much.

    Download Printable Version

    Fettuccine Carbonara
    • 400 grams Fettuccine
    • 6 rashers bacon, cut into thin strips
    • 3 green onions, sliced
    • 10 button mushrooms, thickly sliced
    • 4 egg yolks
    • ½ cup cream
    • ½ cup parmesan
    • sea salt and cracked pepper
    • 2 tbl chopped flat leaf parsley
    Cook the pasta until al dente. Keep warm. Must be kept warm as the heat from the pasta will cook the egg in the sauce.

    While the pasta is cooking, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon, mushrooms and green onions for 3-4 minutes until bacon is crisp and golden.

    Place egg yolks, cream, parmesan, salt and pepper in bowl and whisk well to combine.

    Toss the egg mixture through the hot pasta, coating well, then toss with bacon mixture and parsley and serve immediately.

    (Serves 4)

    It pays to reserve a little pasta water, as this sauce can tend to be a bit thick. If needed, add just a couple of tablespoons at a time to the "sauced" pasta before adding the bacon mix until you get a consistency you like.

    Great recipe from Donna Hay, though the mushrooms are our family's own addition.

    Download Printable Version

    Buzz and Bloom Projects to Share

    It has just dawned on me that I haven't revealed any of my Buzz and Bloom DT stuff on my own blog! I haven't even loaded up any sneak peeks of my latest work. What a slacker! So here are a few bits and pieces.

    King of My Heart

    From Scrapping Stuff

    Personality Plus

    From Scrapping Stuff

    Country Girl

    From Scrapping Stuff

    Summer Fun

    From Scrapping Stuff

    And now some sneak  peaks of what will be coming up this month

    From Scrapping Stuff

    From Scrapping Stuff

    From Scrapping Stuff

    From Scrapping Stuff

    Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to check out the Buzz and Bloom Blog for more reveals and work from the super talented girls on the DT.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Recipe Share - Chicken Tenderloin Milanese

    Or crumbed chicken LOL

    First, the bread crumbs

    Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
    A fantastic way of using up all those scraps of bread. And so yummy on chicken, lamb, crusts for casseroles etc.
    • Leftover bread slices
    • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons dried parsley, finely grated
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    Save leftover bread and dry it (either out on your counter or in the oven at
    250F for about 15 minutes) until completely dry and crisp.

    Using your food processor, blender, or by rolling with a rolling pin between
    sheets of waxed paper, make fine bread crumbs. Save these crumbs. They are
    useful in a wide variety of ways.

    When you have an ample supply, take out 2 cups and mix with the remaining
    ingredients noted above.

    Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator and use within 2 months.

    Download Printable Version

    From Food

    Chicken Tenderloin Milanese
    • 1 ½ lbs. Chicken Tenderloins, pounded 1 1/2 cm thick
    • ½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour
    • ½ teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
    • 3 eggs, beaten
    • 2 cups Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
    • cup Welly Boot Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling
    • 5 cups Salad Leaves
    • 1 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
    • Parmesan
    • Lemon wedges
    Place the tenderloins between two sheets of grease proof paper. Using a meat tenderizer or a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, pound the chicken until about 1 1/2 cm thick.

    From Food

    Combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Place the eggs in a second medium bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a third medium bowl. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess flour. Dip the chicken into the eggs and then into the bread crumbs to coat.

    From Food

    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken, in batches, until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side, adding more oil, if needed. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels.

    Arrange the salad leaves on a large serving platter and top with the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the chicken on top of the tomatoes. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan over the chicken. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

    (Serves 4-6)

    The original recipe called for Turkey, but as it is not always easy to get here in Australia, I have substituted chicken ternderloins.

    Now tell me that doesn't look way better than what you get out of box in the freezer! And for my friends with more than two children and may be concerned about the time involved, how much fun would it be to get the kids in on the assembly line LOL

    Download Printable Version

    Saturday, May 29, 2010

    Kuler Challenge

    When I was playing around with kuler yesterday, this is the scheme that got me really excited

    From Kuler

    From Kuler

    NB// The colour on the end isn't black, it's actually a really deep grape.

    I just love it. So it' going to be what I base my next scrapping project on this week. If you want to come and play with me too I'd love to see your project. It doesn't have to be scrappy, it could be anything crafty! Just leave a link to your blog post/online gallery image in the comments on this post so I can see what you have created. Tell your friends! I'd love to see how these colours inspire the crafty ones out there :)

    On an instructional note, Amy has asked how I get the images from kuler. Our main computer at  home is a Mac. I use a screen capture program called Grab. I can take a "photo" of a selection of what is displayed on screen, save it as a TIFF, then open it in a photo editing program to crop and add text.

    On a PC the only way I know of is to do a screen cap (Ctrl+Print Screen) then paste (Ctrl+V) into a blank Publisher document. In publisher 2007, you can crop the image using the image tool bar, then right click and select "save as image". This will save just the image as an independent file.

    Hope this helps Amy :)

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    kuler fun

    OK so you've heard (or read!) me talk about this site kuler before. Well I have just stumbled across the best feature! If I give kuler a photo of one of my LO's, it will create the colour scheme automatically!!! Then I just need to tweak it to best represent my layout's real life colours.

    So here are some I just whipped up (I've just named then after the layout):

    From Kuler

    From Kuler

    From Kuler

    From Kuler

    From Kuler

    From Kuler

    From Kuler

    From Kuler

    From Kuler

    Cool huh? OK so I'm a nerd, I admit it :P

    The ones called patchwork and olive harvest are actually taken from these photos, rather than Layouts.
    From Kuler

    From Kuler

    I'm thinking this might be a really cool way to find colour inspiration for scrapping. That is get a colour scheme from kuler, based on any photo, then scrap a layout using that scheme.

    I'm going to do a new post tomorrow with a scheme I'll use for my next project. Anyone wanna join me?

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Recipe Share - TUNA MORNAY

    From Food

    A Family favourite (if your family eats tuna of course!) and straight from the pantry.
    Tuna Mornay
    • 1 x 425 gram tin Tuna , (in spring water or brine NOT oil)
    • 60 g or 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
    • 4 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
    • cayenne pepper & black pepper to taste
    • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
    • 1 stock cube or 1 teaspoon of stock powder
    • 4 spring onions, chopped finely
    • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen are fine and easier)
    • 2 cups milk
    • breadcrumbs
    • grated cheese
    Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

    Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Take the pan off the heat while you stir in the flour, peppers and mustard powder. Put the pan back on the heat and cook the flour and butter mixture for 1 minute, taking care not to burn it. Take the pan off the heat again while you add the milk. Stir over low heat while the mixture (a béchamel) thickens. Once it has take it off the heat and stir in the tuna, spring onions, corn and stock powder or crumbled cube.

    Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and cover the top with breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Pop into the oven (uncovered) for 20-30 minutes until the onions are soft and the topping is crunchy. Serve with creamy mashed potato and steamed greens.

    (Serves 4)

    Note: Other vegetables can be added to this. The sauce also makes a great base for other mornays, the chicken and asparagus variation is yummy!

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Is anybody out there . . . . ? or Pasta Disaster :)

    Yes it has been a looooooong time between posts. Truth be told I was totally unprepared for how busy life was going to become when DS6 started year 1. Between working in the office 2 days-a-week (and the other 10 hours of paid work at home), DT work, housework, homework, soccer training, soccer games, doctors, dentist, counsellors, parent teacher meetings . . . . . well you get the picture.

    It's been a total shock to the system. . . . still. . . . and it's May! So blogging has taken a back seat. IF I manage to get up at 5:30am I MIGHT get a chance to check the feeds of all of you (my fave bloggers), but commenting? rarely. And posting on my own blog? Forget it!

    I am struggling to keep everything straight in my head.

    In fact, how's this for a brain blip? This morning I DID get up at 5:30am. Ironed, put on a pot of porridge for the gang, got myself organised for work etc, etc. Dragged the kids out of the house at 8:20am and went to the neighbours' to pick up for car pool. Ding-Dong . . . . . Knock-Knock. Very perplexed looking Dad answers the door.

    Neighbour: "hi"
    Me: "Uh, hi is your DD6 ready for school?"
    Neighbour: "Uh . . . it's a pupil free day"
    Me: "Uhhhhhhh . . . . Oh . . . . uggghhh . . . . .CRAP!"

    The thing is, I have been reading the school newsletters and I do remember seeing the pupil free day on the term calendar. It just didn't connect in my brain that that 17th of May was the same as today - the 17th of May.

    Lucky for me I have an awesome employer that is alright with my kids lobbing up. As a matter of fact John (Boss) and DD4 sat on the floor of the workshop sorting nuts and bolts into little containers. I think he preferred that to the meeting we were having in the office?

    So I'm laughing about it now anyway - what a bimbo!

    On to Pasta Disaster

    My first attempt at home made pasta using the new pasta machine from MIL for my birthday. I've done gnocchi before (which was yum!), but never pasta.

    It looked promising

    From Food

    But is it just me or does this

    From Food

    look like entrails?

    I would like to say that it tasted OK, but the truth is it was fairly ordinary! And Jaime bloody Oliver made it look so easy!

    Well I'm determined, so we'll just put this one down to a learning experience LOL

    Thanks for dropping by, and I hope I see you again real soon :)

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    The Dark Days Are Over

    Video courtesy of dockerland.com

    WHATTTAGAME!!!!!! I think I'm still coming down :) We made the trip to Perth, not quite sure what to expect. Playing last year's championship team . . . .and Fremantle being, well, Fremantle. We figured we were a chance, but this rates as one of the best all time live games I have ever been at! Close, hard fought and the whole 38,000+ crowd completely and utterly emotionally invested. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

    For those readers who are not familiar with our fine  game of AFL (Australian Rules Football) my team, The Fremantle Dockers, are in the Purple. We are a much maligned club who have not enjoyed much success in our albeit short 16 year history. But what we fans lack in accolades and silverware, we more than make up for in passion.

    So understanably we are very excited that after three rounds of footy we are 3-0 (as in 3 wins 0 losses). That's right folks, do not adjust your monitors - Freo are SECOND ON THE LADDER!!!!!
    And to top it off, this was in the mail for me when I got home from work today

    From Life

    A little tough to make out, bit it's our 10 year membership pin. Yes, ten years of pain, torture, punishment . . . I mean, passion LOL

    Its a good time to be a Dockers fan, but we're not getting ahead of ourselves. It's a long season with another 19 games to go. So, as they say "Get on, sit down, belt up and enjoy the ride!"  

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    long time no post . . . .

    and for no particular reason other than life being completely chaotic! And I really don't want to talk about it :( much less blog about it LOL. Is that rude?

    So, how are things with you? Is this a busy time of year for you too?

    In the last month we've had DS6s birthday which was a week long affair!

    From Life

    Football matches

    From Life

    Dukkah making (don't ask!)

    From Life

    etc, etc, etc

    And to be perfectly honest, I'm bloody exhausted!

    But I have managed to stop biting my nails! I know they don't look like much, but it's a lifelong habit, so I chalk that one up to a great life achievement! LOL

    From Life

    And in amongst that I have found some time to create. Here's some sneak peeks of a few of my Buzz and Bloom projects.

    From Scrapping Stuff

    From Scrapping Stuff

    From Scrapping Stuff

    Pop on over to the blog and check 'em out. There is some sensational work from the whole team using the new product release. Very exciting!

    Thanks for stopping by and putting up with my very lazy blogging! And rest assured I have been popping by to yours and I will leave some love for you next time I visit :)

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Domestic Goddess? I think Not . . .

    I seem to have somehow established a reputation amongst some of my friends as a bit of a whizz, gourmet, food snob - whatever - in the kitchen. Now I will admit to being a food obsessive, and I love to cook. But I assure you that I have just as many lazy, throw something together or takeaway nights as anyone else :)

    Proof? OK. On Sunday I had one of those nights. You know, when the afternoon gets away from you and before you know it, you have precisely 5 seconds to get a meal on the table before utter anarchy breaks out. BUT you haven't done a proper grocery shop and the pickings are pretty slim. So you pull a few random ingredients out of the pantry/fridge/freezer in an attempt to throw a meal together? You been there????

    And so Fancy Beans were born . . .

    Fancy Beans
    • 2 cans Baked Beans, (any flavour, but I like BBQ)
    • 250g grams Bacon, diced (when I'm feeling really hopeless I get the pre-diced stuff)
    • 6 Sausages, (Plain old beef, or whatver is lurking in the freezer)
    • 2-3 tablespoons Caramelised Onion, (This is what makes it seem a bit fancy)
    In a large fry pan, cook sausages until golden brown. Remove from heat. Add bacon to the pan and warm through. In the meantime slice sausages into 1.5cm diagonals (see, a bit fancy!).
    Add beans, onion and sausages back to the pan and bring to a simmer.
    Serve over creamy mashed potato

    (Serves 4)

    But the Mash MUST be this:

    Best Ever Mashed Potatoes
    • 250 g potatoes, per person
    • cup double cream, warmed
    • ¼ cup unsalted butter
    • Salt
    • pepper
    • Nutmeg, Freshly grated
    Boil the halved or chunked (but unpeeled) potatoes in a large pan of lightly salted water. When they are soft enough to mash, drain them thoroughly then push the potato pieces through a ricer.

    With a wooden spoon, beat in the warm milk or cream and butter and season with salt, pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg, to taste. Eat alone and straight from the bowl for quintessential comfort food.

    (Serves 1)

    And then you get this:

    I know it doesn't seem like much, but it's pretty hearty and yummy and a kid fave! Try it next time you're having one of those days, you'll thank me LOL!

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Inspiration . . . Thanks Kirstie!

    I have been loving watching Kirstie's Homemade Home on Foxtel. I had never pegged Kirstie as a handmade kinda girl. But that just goes to show how wrong you can be :)

    Just because I'm feeling lazy (and had already typed a lot of this earlier today blogger had a hissy fit!) here is the blurb from Lifestyle channel website:

    From Life

    "Location Location Location’s Kirstie Allsopp transforms a dilapidated country cottage into the ultimate “homemade” home. Kirstie Allsopp is on a mission to change the way we furnish and decorate property in the brand new series, Kirstie’s Homemade Home.

    From Life

    Journeying into the world of craft and homemaking featuring old and new, handmade and homemade, antique and bespoke, Kirstie attempts to prove that homemade beats mass produced designs every time. In a dilapidated farmhouse on the North Devon coast ripe for renovation, Kirstie shows how buying wonderful, unique, quality items will not only add character but can be handed down to future generations.

    From Life

    Over five episodes, she transforms the derelict space into a dream home by visiting auctions, buying bargains, searching out brilliant crafts people as well as restoring and making a number of items herself."

    It was Bedrooms in last night's episode, and I got all inspired to make a doona/duvet colour for DD4 with thrifted fabrics. Here's today's haul. Might need to add a couple more patterns though . . . 

    From Life

    From Life

    How cute is that little brodré remnant? I took the colour palete from the hand coloured detail. So sweet! There was actually a whole heap of stuff I put back too. But this happened to slip into the basket

    From Life

    I'm hoping to convince Rochelle to make a little cushion for me, just like the little ones I saw on Saturday night ♥♥♥♥♥♥

    Now, as this will be my first attempt at anything like this, it will not be elaborate. Basically just strips of varying widths, with some fun frays or button details. And I may need to add some of Jodie's pretties too.

    From Scrapping Stuff

    I'm looking forward to the challenge, and have already got the old Bernina out!

    From Life