Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Operation: Secret Squirrel

I don't think my Dad will ever forgive me for moving away. Most times when I speak to him on the phone he reminds me that I am not around for family events or even just random Sunday barbeques. I was feeling a bit homesick a few months ago so I hatched a plan with Mum to fly to Brisbane as a surprise combined Fathers Day/Birthday present for my Dad and so began Operation: Secret Squirrel.

Astoundingly she managed to keep it a secret, only trusting my brother and sister-in-law (SIL) with the plan after they had booked in their pup to be speyed on Dad's birthday. That was rearranged and everything went according to plan. The surprise was low-key, a couple of days before his birthday Mum picked me up from the airport and I walked in while he was watching TV. Dad was pretty chilled (which is good because the last thing I wanted to do was surprise him into a second heart attack) but had a huge smile on his face.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Old fashioned cake (with new fashioned icing)

You may have gathered by now that my preferred recipes have less than 10 ingredients. As soon as I see a huge list of things I have to shop for and weigh and measure, my interest wanes. It helps that my favourite foods are simple dishes with clean flavours..... although I'm not sure how that applies to what I am about to write about. Cake.

I had planned to visit a friend that has been having a tough time lately and, well, cake is known for it's restorative properties:) I also love the idea of cupcakes but am usually disappointed with them when I buy them. Plus it is artistically satisfying to make cute little cakes, so here is a super easy and quick cupcake recipe. I should add it is not MY recipe, it is handwritten on a slip of paper in my recipe folder from who knows when or who and is for a cake, not necessarily cupcakes.

You will need:
 2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup milk
125g butter, melted, cooled
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Fast Food Fave!!

Whilst this isn't a restaurant review blog sometimes I am just going to post stuff about some of my favourite places that you really should try if you are nearby. Tonight it is my go-to fast food New York Minute

Right on a main road and with a very simple cafe fit-out you could be easily forgiven for passing them by. We first tried this place after walking past it on our way to a wine bar and then deciding we should fill our bellies on the way back. Whilst clean and comfortable it isn't super-cosy so we usually get take-away now (unless we are walking past, it isn't somewhere you would necessarily "go out to dinner" to).

Whilst the decor is simple the food is AMAZING and very affordable. Tonight the Bookworm had a New York Mac- this is one of those meals where he tried it once and now can't think about having anything else, it is THAT good (I had it once too I admit and it defeated me, but was very tasty).  I had a beef burger and we shared a large chips.
New York Mac $10

The New York Mac is like a Big Mac on roids, super saucey with their own special sauce

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Ricotta Gnocchi and Delatite Riesling

This is one of The Bookworm's favourite meals. The recipe is Donna Hay's from one of her very early magazines (I have forgotten which one but remember the recipe) and I am sure she has reimagined it since. It is super-easy to make and a  high(er) protein low(er) carb alternative to the stodgy potato type (which I also love).

You will need:
500g fresh ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 eggs lightly beaten
Salt and Pepper
1 cup plain flour plus extra for dusting your board

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Puffin Tales

Last Sunday morning I was on my way to the gym when I saw a little dog by the side of a very busy road. She was minding her own business so I stopped and watched, expecting that someone would call out to her or appear to be walking her off-leash. No such person appeared. I bent down close to her and put out my hand, she ducked back but then decided I wasn't too terrifying and came over for a pat and a belly-rub. Just then some people walked past to cross the road and she ran to them, expecting more pats, and onto the road. I dropped and called her to me, they heard and turned back and fortunately the little dog followed them. After ascertaining they did not know her and after a few more minutes of me crouching by the road holding her I decided an owner wasn't going to turn up and she was coming home with me. It is amazing how heavy a 3kg dog can be after you have carried her for 10 minutes.

She was wearing a collar but no tags. The first step was to see if she was microchipped. I rang my closest vet who I knew opened Sundays. They said they could scan her but would have to keep her and turn her in to the council. I explained that I was concerned for her welfare at the Lost Dogs Home (fairly high euthanasia rates) and was prepared to look after her until her owner could be found but no, that was their policy. I then called the emergency vet a little further away. They could scan her and even though they are supposed to call the council they understood my concerns and would let me care for her, so along we went. I spent the entire walk there (with the dog on a leash now) asking people if they recognised her and scanning the faces of drivers to see if they were possibly looking for a lost dog.

She did not have a microchip, was not desexed and appeared to be only about 6-7 months old. Bad news. I had been in touch with Mme Magic Paws (background info here) to check I was doing the right thing and now had to ask for more help. While I was waiting for the Bookworm to come and pick us up I named the dog Puffin- a feminised version of Puff the Magic dragon because she looked like a baby dragon :)

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Ugly Soup and fine wine

I love having people for dinner and usually like to spend the day in the kitchen cooking up something a bit different. Sometimes life has other plans.  On Sunday morning I rescued a young dog from running onto the road and spent the day looking for her family (I will write about this in detail another time). Which meant that I was racing home from the supermarket 20 minutes before my friends were due to arrive. The night called for soup. Ugly soup.

So it is actually a cauliflower and pistachio soup

What you need:
An onion (brown or red- I use whatever I have), chopped finely
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
A cauliflower, chopped up roughly
85g pistachios (a small bag from the supermarket)
A splash of olive oil
4 cups of vegetable stock (you may need a little more or a little less)