Dumpling night – a cheat’s post

January 21st, 2012 — 6:57am, 1 comment »
photo from Where My Heart Is

A few weeks ago when son number two and his girlfriend Wei were visiting from China, Wei decided to treat us with a sumptuous Chinese feast, featuring homemade dumplings.  It was such a fun night.  God I love having my babies home, they sure liven up the joint.  I would show you my photos of the night, but seeing as my sister Jess is the photographer, I’m sure you’d much rather see hers over at Where My Heart Is.

I’m a good mother

July 14th, 2011 — 2:03pm, 6 comments »

At least I feel like one today.  I’ve made the teenager muffins for afternoon tea.  Bill Granger pear and walnut muffins and they’re in the oven.  Brownie (or muffin?) points for me, I hope.   I can’t say or do much right these days but I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a little baking from the heart.

And particularly because these baked goodies just might be edible.  I actually followed the recipe and made them with plain old flour.  I think the man/child will be overjoyed.  I try and avoid wheat flour, among other things, it doesn’t agree.  So, for a while now I’ve been  experimenting with sorghum, millet, corn, rice, buckwheat and quinoa flour and I haven’t cracked it yet.  I swear off ever trying again, but I do.  I’d like to enjoy good cake and not feel guilty or bloated afterwards.  Is that to much too ask?  Don’t answer.   However, if you do have any suggestions  for wheat/egg/dairy free delicious cakes, cookies or muffins, please let me know.

Yes, I know, I’m blogging.  What can I say, I’m flaky.  I change my mind regularly.  Get used to it.

PS  The muffins were terrible, pretty bad.  Don’t know what went wrong, Bill rarely lets me down.  Guess I don’t win Mother of the Week award after all.  Damn.


June 14th, 2011 — 6:08pm, 2 comments »

I’ve lost my voice.   Not only have I nothing much to say but I’ve got laryngitis.  Is that weird or is it just winter?  Speaking of which,  the weather here in Brisbane has been record breaking cold.  David and I froze watching the teenager play soccer on Saturday, so came home and got the fire going. And the heater.  It was a good weekend for curling up on the sofa, watching DVDs, (I really enjoyed True Grit), devouring chocolate and eating soup.  David made my favourite – Chicken and Quinoa Soup with Spinach and Mint. It really is the best comfort food ever.  In fact, it’s so good I think I should share the recipe with you.  The original calls for couscous but I prefer to use quinoa.  It’s gluten free, tastes delicious and is a super food.

Chicken and Quinoa Soup with Spinach and Mint

1 small chicken cut into pieces ( we use hormone free)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tomatoes peeled and chopped
1 onion, coarsely grated
2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp harissa
1 cinnamon stick
8 cups water
1 cup cooked quinoa or 1/2 cup uncooked couscous
handful of chopped mint
half handful of chopped parsley, coriander
juice of half lemon
couple handfuls of baby spinach

In large pot – place chicken pieces, oil, tomato paste, tomatoes, onion, spices, 1/2 teas each of salt and ground pepper, and 2 cups water.   Simmer gently, covered, until chicken is cooked, about 45 mins.  Or use pressure cooker and cook in much shorter time, which is what we do.  Remove chicken from broth and let cool.  Remove bones, tear meat into pieces and return to pot.  Add 6 cups water and bring soup to simmer. Add cooked quinoa, fresh herbs and simmer for a further 5 mins.*  Then add lemon juice, turn heat off and add spinach leaves and stir. * If using couscous, stir broth constantly while slowly adding couscous.  Add herbs and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 mins.  Add lemon juice, turn heat off and add spinach leaves and stir.

Season if required, enjoy … and let me know if you love it as much as I do.


A night out

April 3rd, 2011 — 2:31pm, 5 comments »

Hot off the press … Just arrived home and thought I’d tell you about dinner while it’s fresh in my mind. My hubbie who spends his week travelling and eating out, comes home for a – well, home cooked meal – and I’m just dying to get out of the house. So tonight we ventured to our newest local – Egg Bistro in East Brisbane. Very European, Melbourne decor, I like…

Just so you know, Egg Bistro is BYO.  I was a little disappointed as I do like to try out new wine by the glass when I’m out.  There is a bottlo over the road, but it’s pretty limited.  Not to worry, I survived…

Now, can you see, well how could you not, hubby’s T-shirt?  We bought ( I made him buy) it the other weekend in Bangalow, where I want to move and own a groovy shop.   I loved the stripey, kind of tie dye look.  At the time, the teenager said, ‘cool, cool, very indie…’ However, tonight he wasn’t so sure, and I have to admit I was a little startled myself when I saw the hubby dressed for dinner. A  little dizzy, no doubt due to being faint from hunger, or the onset of a migraine. Stripes can do that to me.   His ‘look’ was also a little familiar.  I’m thinking escaped prisoner,  ‘Oh Brother Where out thou’ . (Have you seen the movie? If not, you must.)   How could I have been so wrong, the T looked so right last week?  Anyway, my beloved didn’t seem to notice that I looked anywhere but at him the entire night – just in case I threw up  (stripes can do that to me).

Anyway, the food… Our meals were delicious. I chose well – duck on lentils, red cabbage and cauliflower – and something I would never cook myself.  Unfortunately I forgot to take out my camera so I can’t show you any photos.  I did consider asking the diners at the neighbouring table if  I could photograph their meals instead, but my companions persuaded/manhandled me not to.

Teenagers… Here’s the kid who was dining out at 2 weeks old, attending cocktail parties at 6 months, asking for billy goat’s cheese at 3 years, making a mean salad dressing at 5, and at almost 15, slurps his drink like a neanderthal – no hands – in public. I rest my case.

I think this could be the last time this man is seen wearing this T-shirt.

PS  I did take a few days to actually get this post up – so it’s not technically hot off the press anymore.

PSS  Have you got a headache?

Nothing like old friends…

March 2nd, 2011 — 10:28am, 4 comments »

And I don’t mean old as in aged – even if we were celebrating a 50th – I mean friends you have known for a long time.  In this case – 34 years.  A few weeks ago, I met up in Melbourne with two of my dear (old) high school buddies for a weekend – four nights to be precise – of catching up, debriefing, workshopping, reminiscing – photos and all, while simultaneously shopping, eating, drinking, and thoroughly enjoying ourselves in this fabulous city.  Yes, we have seen each other during the last 34 years, (most notably at the official 30th high school reunion we’re trying to forget) but with Sarah living in Ireland, and Barb and I in various locations around Australia, this was a pretty special occasion.  I even stayed up past midnight!

Despite a little dispute with a bad-attitude-waiter-in-a-cafe-to-be-avoided about gluten free food and rudeness (not mine!) – the weekend was perfect.   A point of interest – did you know that the term semolina derives from the ancient Latin ‘simila’ – meaning flour? Not that the waiter was interested …  Google is one of the few things I do know how to use on my iPhone, and in case my kids ever read my blog, yes boys it was turned on and charged thank you very much.

Apart from the good company we thoroughly enjoyed exploring Melbourne’s laneways …

a bit of shopping at SHAG – vintage clothing boutique, Collins Street …

Chinese massage in Flinders Street …

dinner at Movida’s Next Door …

and feasting on Holy Goat Cheese, Sicilian olives and salami from the Vic Markets.

Could it get any better?

Sweet Sixteen

August 2nd, 2010 — 5:50pm, 2 comments »

Happy Birthday to my beautiful niece Paris!

A weekend of balmy weather spent with loved ones – cups of tea, meals on the deck, the final episode of Doc Martin (too funny), and birthday celebrations with more laughter.  For a closer (and less blurred) look at the Lemon Raspberry-lime Layer cake, go here

Food glorious food …

July 16th, 2010 — 6:33pm, 1 comment »

The noodle guy

Now it’s all about food – in China.

Apart from the predictably poor meal at the western restaurant at our hotel in Xi’an, only visited because we were too exhausted to leave the premises, our culinary experiences were fabulous, if not memorable.  (I’m not including Macca’s for breakfast here. And I’m quite sure that David would want me to make it very clear that he never ate at the big M – he only ate street food for breakfast, and, by the way, he is the only one of us who didn’t get a tummy bug. He does have an iron stomach though).

One of the best meals we ate was at a little restaurant our wonderful guide Erma (is that a Chinese name?) took us to when we visited the truly amazing Terracotta Warriors.  (They warrant a post of their own but I’ll let you look them up yourself.)

My favourite dish was the wild mushrooms with water spinach – or was it the shredded pork with spring onion – the tofu with schezuan pepper – or the chicken with pomegranate? Sorry, I was so hungry I forgot to take photos.

In the memorable catagory would be the night food market where silkworm,


and snake

were standard fare – with some of us anyway …

Conor decided to stick with the noodles

and my parents with roasted corn on the cob.  How cute are these two?

This 24 hr Dim Sum restaurant was so good we went three times.  Look at this lovely private room.  Apparently the chicken feet were to die for – and – you’d have to kill me first.  I eat most things, but I’ll stick to dumplings thank you.

No – this is not soldier drill – it is waiter drill …

Because David had missed out on our Peking Duck at the fabulous No Name restaurant on our first night in Beijing, Sam took us back there on our last night.

Perfect …

Again, the eggplant was heavenly,

and this time we had it with broad beans,


and sticky rice in pineapple – sublime -

washed down with chinese beer.