Sunday, August 31, 2008

Finished, At Last

Posted by MANDI at 3:31 PM 5 comments
I've been unpacking my scrapping stuff and trying to make a permanent spot for it all in the study (Hubby has kindly allowed me a small corner - it's a shame the corner's getting bigger and bigger by the day) and have come across lots of semi-done, half-finished and completely-given- up-on projects. I've been strong and simply turfed some that were never going to turn into something nice and now I'm making an effort to work through some of the projects that need finishing.

I started making some door hangers for the kids a while ago. Okay, ages ago. Okay... about 18 months ago.

Then I got bored.

They weren't turning out how I wanted and I couldn't quite work out how to make them do what I wanted them to so I put them away to have a think about it for a while. It turned out to be a long while.

But now they're done and I think they turned out okay. The kids like 'em and that was, after all, the main aim.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Posted by MANDI at 8:45 PM 3 comments
Yet another reason to be pleased about moving back to Perth. You can't find these in Red Dirt Central for love nor money!

Actually, they're not always easy to find around here either but I was browsing through some of my favourite little shops and came across one of my very favourite treats. I don't have them often but I love 'em, and at $3.20 for this little pack you can be sure they'll stay in the category of 'treat'.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back In The Land Of The Living

Posted by MANDI at 7:52 PM 3 comments
... almost.
I've spent the last few days feeling less than stellar. A visit to the doctor, a dose of antibiotics, some rest, decongestants, asthma meds and lots of fluids and I'm starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Still coughing, and a voice that comes and goes at will, but getting there. I have to be at work tomorrow but I'm planning to do as little talking as possible (yes, I can hear you all laughing from here!) and get as much cleared off my desk as I can after two days at home.
Hubby has started his new job and, of course, this is his first week away. He's about as far away as you can get and still be WA. Not a great time for me to be getting sick but that's the way it goes :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Colour In The Jungle

Posted by MANDI at 5:56 PM 1 comments
I spied a flash of colour in the garden today and went to investigate.

There are some pretty hot-pink azaleas hiding in the jungle!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Posted by MANDI at 8:24 PM 4 comments
Cough, sneeze, splutter.
Offspring #2 has lovingly shared her (latest) cold with me. Hers began with yet another asthma attack - we think we've finally worked out her 'trigger', thank goodness. Now we just wait for the next attack to see if we have it right. Not altogether a fun ride.
I'm off to sip a burning-ly good cup of tea before heading for bed. The extra heat in the tea helps my throat to stop hurting. Unfortunately because of the citrus allergy/issues hot lemon and honey drinks are out - there are lots of times I miss citrus and this is just one of them. It's not helped by the fact that I unknowingly ate something with just a drop of citrus (probably lemon but not too sure) at the end of last week and my face has a lovely rash that, rather embarrassingly, looks like the acne on the faces of the kids I'm dealing with each day. Here's hoping I feel better in the morning and that my face looks a little less unpleasant. Work is flat out and I need every bit of good energy I can get.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Terrific Sunday Night Dinner

Posted by MANDI at 8:58 PM 5 comments
I've taken to making roast dinners the past few Sunday nights, partly because we had some lovely lamb in the freezer (thanks to my farming brother and his wife - it was delish, thanks guys!) and partly to provide fodder for sandwiches in the early days of the working week. I have found however, that a busy weekend in the garden makes roast-making less enjoyable than it should be. Too much peeling of vegies, too much forward planning and way too many dishes so.... this week I slacked out and we had the easiest meal I've made in ages. It was simple, tasty and took next to no time at all.

The kids turned up their respective noses when I told them we were having Egg and Bacon Pie for dinner. I reminded #1 that he liked eggs and bacon and pastry so he was sure to like this. I told #2 that it was just like pizza, with eggs and bacon on top - she's currently mad about pizza so this seemed a sure-fire winner, and it was! Sorry about the pic, we dug in and then I remembered the need for photos and all the only piece on the tray was the left-over (though not for long) slightly over-cooked bit LOL.

This one will feature on the dinner menu again... soon.

Rustic Cheese, Egg and Bacon Pie
delicious. 5 Nights a Week by Valli Little

375g block frozen puff pastry, thawed (I just used 1 1/2 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry)
200g creme fraiche or full-fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated vintage cheddar
1 egg, plus two egg yolks
2 bacon rashers, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (I used a generous shake of dried thyme)
milk to brush

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 20 x 30cm rectangle then lay pastry on the prepared baking tray (or, like me, use ready rolled and just plunk it on top of the baking paper!).

In a bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, grated cheese, eggs and yolks, bacon and thyme, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spread the egg mixture over the pastry, leaving a 2cm border. brush the exposed pastry with a little milk, then bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Slice the pie and serve with salad.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Kitchen Window

Posted by MANDI at 8:05 PM 5 comments

This is what I look out over from my kitchen window. It's just part of why I love my house so much.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Banana Bread

Posted by MANDI at 7:32 PM 2 comments
I spent last week in something of a cooking frenzy but haven't had time to do much blogging. Ah well, better late than never!

This was a banana bread recipe that I tore out of a magazine some time ago with the intention of trying there and then. Again, better late than never LOL. This was easy to make and everyone enjoyed it. I put half the loaf into the freezer for the following week and it stored well and defrosted nicely.

Banana Bread
from Australian Good Taste, September 2007

Melted low-fat dairy spread, to grease (I used canola spray in its place)
1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup, firmly packed, brown sugar
1/2 cup skim milk
2 eggs, lightly whisked
50g butter, cooled
2 overripe bananas, mashed

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Brush an 11 x 22cm (base measurement) loaf pan with dairy spread to grease. Line the base and 2 opposite sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing sides to overhang.
2. Sift the combined flours and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre. Combine the milk, egg, butter and banana in a bowl. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
3. Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in pan for 5 minutes to cool before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into slices to serve.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Tale Of A Chainsaw Lovin' Hubby

Posted by MANDI at 8:15 PM 3 comments

We had an order from Western Power (the electricity supplier for metro West Aust for those not here) to lop some trees along the front fence-line. They were getting a little too close to the power lines and needed to be cut back/down/off altogether! We do think that the powers-that-be have gone a little over the top in reaction to the big fire that went through this area during the summer but better to be safe than sorry. While Hubby was tending to those trees he decided to trim a few others that were overhanging the drive-way and the fire-break around the edge of the yard - you have to have a fire-break in these parts if your block is bigger than a half-acre.

The yard now looks a heap neater but we have a massive pile of branches down the front.

How big you ask? Well, here's a close-up...

And here's one from a little distance away...

Yeah, Hubby's gotta do everything BIG!

Friday, August 8, 2008


Posted by MANDI at 10:20 PM 4 comments
Offspring #1 begged to be allowed to stay up late so he could watch the "limpics" AKA the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Knowing how very tired he is but also aware of how special something like this is, especially to a 6-year-old, I reluctantly agreed. We snuggled on the couch for a while, talking about what we were watching, and then I wandered off to tidy up the kitchen. We were still chatting and he was asking a bunch of questions, exclaiming over the fireworks and telling me that the whole thing was, "unbelievable!".

I had to run out the shed to ask Hubby a quick question and when I came back in the house (all of two minutes later) I glanced over at the couch and thought he seemed to be lying in an odd position. I figured I'd better check on him...

He lasted an hour. Not bad for the end of a long and tiring week :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This Is Good

Posted by MANDI at 8:08 PM 1 comments
This recipe has been floating around the Ugly Binder for much longer than I'd realised and, now that I've finally made it, I'm kicking myself for putting it off for so long. This sweet slice is deliciously easy and, while it might not look all that special, it sure have a lovely flavour.

Date Muesli Slice
from Australian Table, July 2006

125g butter, melted, plus extra, to grease
3/4 cup raw sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 190C. Grease and line a 17 x 27cm slice or baking pan.
2. Combine butter, sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in oats, flour, dates, sultanas and almonds. Mix well. Press mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
3. Slice into rectangles. (Yeah, mine are squares!)

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Great Start To The Day

Posted by MANDI at 8:27 PM 4 comments
Our Sunday-Morning-Breakfasts have slipped somewhat lately - once upon a time (pre-kids!) Sunday Breakfast was a leisurely affair with pots of tea, hearty food and newspapers spread across the table. The kids arrived and lounging about went by the wayside. Now the kids are that little bit bigger and don't need to be fed immediately upon opening their eyes we're starting to re-acquaint ourselves with a Sunday morning lie-in and then a yummy, unhurried, family breakfast.

Yesterday was sunny and, if you stood in a totally unshaded spot, almost pleasant. We had lots to do around the house and flipped through the recipe books for something tasty to start the day. Hubby did most of the prep and cooking for this one and it was delicious! The maple syrup topped it off beautifully but 8 slices of bread was too much for the egg mix.

French Toast with Crispy Prosciutto
Marie Claire, Breakfast by Jodiy Vassallo
Serves 4

3 tablespoons pouring, (whipping) cream
3 eggs
3 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
pinch of cinnamon
8 slices thick bread, cut in half diagonally
80g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 slices prosciutto
maple syrup, to serve (optional)

Combine the cream, eggs, sugar and cinnamon in a wide, shallow bowl and mix together. Soak the bread in the egg mixture, one slice at a time, shaking off any excess.
Melt half the butter in a frying pan, add 3-4 slices of bread in a single layer and cook until golden brown on both sides. Cook the remaining bread in batches, adding more butter as needed, and keeping the cooked slices warm in the oven.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the prosciutto and fry until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Place the prosciutto on top of the French toast and serve. Drizzle with maple syrup, if using.


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