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Weekend Away

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

Lovely Hubby and I are celebrating our 29th Wedding Anniversary this weekend and have the opportunity to spend it here I found it, just by googling "accomodation at Maleny" as we just love it up there and it is only just over one hours drive away from us.

I think it is important to invest time into our relationship and this is a special treat for us both. Because of my Mother in law, we don't often get the chance to be away together.

So there will be no new blog posts for a couple of days while I am away enjoying some quiet time away with lovely Hubby.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, with time to relax and spend some time with your loved ones.

As with most couples, we don't have too many photos of us both in the photo together as I am usually the one taking the photo. This was taken at the Maleny Botanic Gardens at the beginning of the year

This photo was taken during our last cruise, I love it because we are both genuinely smiling at each other and he's making be laugh, as usual. The photographers edit the photos quite a lot, so there isn't a wrinkle or blemish in sight! Even my nails are shiny!

Isn't it funny how, when you look at a photo, you remember how you felt when it was taken? 

Have a great weekend, Fi.

This weeks 5 frugal things on a Friday

Friday, 29 July 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

After last Saturdays rather tropical feel, the temps plummeted again during the week and me, being a big sissy haven't ridden my bike to work at all this week (insert really sad face here) It isn't far at all to get to work and I usually enjoy the brisk ride in, however I have had a nasty headache most of the week and it was compounded on Wednesday.

On Wednesday arvo lovely Hubby accidentally put dinner on high on the stove and left the house to run an errand. What he was supposed to do was to put 1 kg of chicken thigh fillets into the big saucepan and cover it with the left over broth from Saturdays "Drunken Chicken" pop it on very low and let it poach gently, creating another meal. What he did though, was popped it on the stove, turned the stove on to high (completely by accident) and left the house. Oh my, the mess it created! Plumes of smoke and a horrible, yellow, sticky, grease covering everything. We were so very lucky that it didn't catch fire and burn the house down! The whole house just stinks of smoke and made me feel quite nauseous and headachy. This has given us all a terrible fright and he promises to be more careful in future. I keep telling him, he need to slow down.

I am going to try and save the pot as it is my favourite and I use it for so many things. It is currently having a good soak with a dishwasher tablet dissolved in it to try and loosen the charcoaled debris that was left.

So dinner that night was not more "Drunken Chicken" it was, after a quick trip to Coles on the way home, Chicken and Pesto Pasta. I used the rest of the frozen pesto I had in the freezer.

So, on with frugal things-
1. Packed my lunch every day to take to work. I subscribed to Mightynest/Mightyfix a while ago and the metal container on the right (which comes with a leak proof lid) along with a slightly smaller version, was my first delivery. I love them, as they don't leak and don't absorb odour! Sweet.

2. Used up the rest of the frozen, home made Rocket and Basil Pesto to make a quick meal of Chicken and Pesto Pasta after the cremation of dinner on Wednesday afternoon. I froze the Rocket and Basil Pesto down in ice cube trays and popped them out into a small container, ready to use when needed. Easy

3. Made a batch of "My Mums Pickling Vinegar" to pickle home grown chillies

4. Watered the garden using tank water (the pump is up and running again)

5. Cleaned the house with home made cleaners, which are cheap as chips to make and just as effective as store bought, chemically loaded products

So, over to you, Dear Reader. Tell me your frugal or free achievements this week.

Lentil and Pumpkin Savoury Rolls

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

You can easily double the recipe for a crowd

Anything savoury and warm in golden and flaky puff pastry is kinda hard to beat, add in a super tasty and nutritious filling and these little tasty morsels, kick all the goals. I am simply loving all the recipes from The Life Of Clare blog and this is another one of Clares' that shines. I think, for my taste, next time I will add some dried chilli flakes and some Cumin when roasting the pumpkin, to add a little zing.


1 cup mashed pumpkin, I first roasted the pumpkin and then mashed it
1 can of lentils, rinsed and drained
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups of breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of oats
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato sauce or sweet chilli sauce
1 Teaspoon each Cumin and Chilli Flakes ( optional )
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
sesame seed or nigella seeds for sprinkling
cream for glazing and sealing


Preheat oven to 180 C and line an oven tray with baking paper
Remove puff pastry from the freezer
In a bowl, combine the pumpkin, drained lentils, beaten egg, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, oats, sauce and spices, if using. Mix well. Check the consistency, if it is too "wet" add more breadcrumbs until you are happy with it. **
Cut each sheet of puff pasty in half, length ways. Using a pastry brush dipped in cream, brush cream along the side of the puff pastry, this will be the seal. 
Place about a 1/4 of mixture down the middle of each length of pastry. Shape into a long sausage shape.
Fold puff pasty over mixture and roll to seal
Cut each length into four equal pieces and brush with cream, sprinkle with sesame seeds or nigella seeds
Put into hot oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until puffed and golden
Serve with sauce of choice

Golden Morsels of Goodness 

** I baked the pumpkin and this makes it a dryer consistency than if you steamed or boiled the pumpkin. It makes for a firmer mixture and is easier to handle

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

This was another big week, money wise, as lovely Hubby and son went away for a fishing long weekend to Moreton Island. My husbands' best mate lives on Moreton and lovely Hubby goes over to stay about twice a year. It's a typical all boys weekend, lots of meat on the BBQ and lots of fishing done over the four days. In all, they caught 208 Whiting over the 4 days between the 3 of them, not bad, at all. Whiting has to be the best eating fish in the sea!

The meat for their BBQ's was bought from Nothling Brothers Quality Meats, as we like to support the small, independent butcher, they have very good quality meat, but it is on the more expensive side. On a normal week, this isn't a problem as we don't eat a lot of meat, but this week, with the boys going away and wanting good steak for the BBQ, it pushed the cost up, like, way up. I am not losing any sleep over it though as it doesn't happen very often and I always think it is still a cheap weekend away as they don't need to pay for accomodation!

I also cooked dinner on Saturday and Sunday night for more people than usual, as I had my little Grand Nieces and my Sister for dinner on Saturday night (along with my Mother in law, as usual) and my Niece, her hubby plus the little girls and my Sister + MIL for Sunday night. Both meals were "slow cooker" meals and both were super easy to pop on in the morning. I made a "Drunken Chicken" and a "Spice Beef". I really love my slow cooker especially when I am feeding more people than usual and have my hands full with little ones or just a busy day at home.

What we bought
The bread rolls, raisin bread, mushrooms, two of the avocados and the bag of washed small potatoes were for lovely hubby and son to take to Moreton Island 

Most of the meat (except for the chicken and 1 kg of shin beef) went with lovely hubby to Moreton Island. The pre made salads also went with him. 

What we spent

Nothing Bros Prime Meats-$121.23 (holy cow)
Total-$312.68 (Oh my goodness! that is outrageous) Thank goodness lovely Hubby doesn't go away that often

What we ate
Wednesday-Spicy Fish Cakes with Steamed Basmati Rice and English Spinach 

Thursday-Pizza Night, we had a voucher to use and ordered 3 pizzas as our son had dinner with us. This is the vegorama pizza and it was delicious 

Friday-Smoked Salmon Pasta with steamed Broccolini 

Saturday-Drunken Chicken with steamed Basmati Rice, Snow Peas and English Spinach

Sunday night, we had a dish called "Spice Beef" it is a lovely, easy, slow cooker meal flavoured with onions, mushroom soy sauce and five spice. It's another one of Grans recipes, and is truly delicious. You also add potatoes to this dish, the potato soak up all the delicious sauce/gravy and we served it with steamed rice and broccolini. It was quite a hectic day, afternoon and night, so no photo of dinner, sorry.

Monday-Pasta Bake with steamed Broccolini

Tuesday-Freshly caught Whiting (from the Moreton Island trip) in Tempura with steamed Basmati Rice and steamed Snow Peas

So, over to you, what was on your table this week? 

Toasted Oat and Honey Sourdough

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

Following on from my recent posts about sourdough, I have another sourdough recipe for you, this time you add the extra goodness of oats and honey, doesn't that sound all together delicious and nourishing? I found this recipe, on a new to me, blog, called The life of Clare.

You toast the oats first for added flavour, it also makes a more robust loaf and is perfect with savoury or sweet toppings, There is only a quarter cup of honey in it so it not overly sweet and can lend itself in either direction, savoury or sweet.

Preheat oven to 200 C, put 1 cup of oats onto a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes, giving it a good stir every few minutes 

That is my sourdough starter in the tall jar, at the back.
In the bowl is 500 grams of bread flour, 150 grams of proved and bubbly sourdough starter, 300 grams tepid filtered water, 10 grams of salt, 1/4 cup of honey and almost 1 cup of toasted oats. 
Keep about 2 tablespoons of the oats to sprinkle over the top of the sourdough before baking 

After the sourdough has proved and has doubled in size (24 hours), flour the worktop 

Pour and scrap out the proved sourdough on to floured work top 

Flatten slightly with your hands 

Using a flat sided dough spatula, flip one side of the dough into the middle 

Then, flip over the other 

Start rolling up from the short end 

Continue rolling 

Until it is all rolled up into a log 

Lift sourdough onto a piece of baking paper 

Slash with a sharp knife 

Using the baking paper, lift the sourdough 

Into an enamel pot, with a lid 

Brush with water 

Sprinkle over reserved toasted oats 

Ready for the hot oven. As I have said before, the oven can wait but the sourdough won't 

Golden and gorgeous


500 grams bread flour
150 grams proved and bubbly sourdough starter
300 grams tepid filtered water
10 grams salt
1 cup of oats, toasted in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Reserve 2 tablespoons of toasted oats for the top of the sourdough
1/4 cup of honey


Preheat oven to 250 C
To a bowl, add all of the above ingredients, except for the reserved toasted oats
Mix well with your hands until all incorporated
Let prove until it has doubled in volume, it can take up to 24 hours
When sourdough is ready, scrap and pour onto a floured worktop
Flatten slightly with your hands and then using a flat sided dough scraper, flip one side of the sourdough into the middle, then the other
Start rolling up, from the short end, forming into a log shape
Lift sourdough onto a sheet of baking paper
Slash bread with a sharp knife in a design that is pleasing to you
Now lift into an enamel pot with a lid
Brush with water and sprinkle over reserved toasted oats, put lid on enamel pot
Put into the preheated oven and immediately turn heat down to 230 C. Bake, with lid on for 20 minutes, then remove lid and continue baking for 30 minutes or until you are happy with the colour of the loaf

Enjoy with lashings of butter and honey!

So, over to you, what is your favourite kind of sourdough? And what would be your perfect sandwich filling?

Smoked Salmon Pasta

Monday, 25 July 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

I love all fish but especially salmon, and smoked salmon is a favourite of everyone at chez Chain. This is a beautiful little dish as you don't need a lot of smoked salmon to make a meal and the light creamy sauce is super easy to put together, in fact, by the time the pasta is cooked your smoked salmon sauce will also be ready. This will make enough for 3 hungry adults so just multiply the amounts as needed

Ingredients for Smoked Salmon Pasta, 100 grams of smoked salmon, 1 1/2 cups of cream, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, **1 to 2 spring onions, juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime, 250 grams pasta of your choice 

Start cooking the pasta before you start the sauce.
Add cream to a heavy based frypan, add Dijon mustard and mix well. 

Bring to a gentle simmer, let the sauce reduce for about 5 minutes 

Slice Smoked Salmon, finely 

Add sliced smoked salmon, **spring onions and lemon or lime juice to pan and stir gently to incorporate.

When pasta is Al Dente, drain and add pasta to frypan, toss gently to coat the pasta in the creamy sauce 

To serve, grate over plenty of Parmesan cheese and black pepper

This lovely dish makes an almost instant dinner when you are tired or short on time

** I used some very small spring onions that were growing in the garden. If using more robust spring onions, sauté the white of the spring onion first in a little oil before adding the cream and mustard to the pan. Then mix in the green part of the spring onion when you add the smoked salmon.

So, tell me, what is your "super fast" go to pasta sauce you make when you are too tired to cook or just short on time?


Sourdough, Three Ways

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

As I mentioned last weekend, I have been making a lot of super yummy Sourdough lately. I have made Plain and Simple White, Toasted Oats and Honey, the recipe is from The Life of Clare, and these three, which are a Light Rye and Caraway, a Pumpkin Sourdough with Sunflower Seeds and Sage and a Fruit and Spice Sourdough Loaf.

Any way I make it, it is delicious and wholesome. It still amazes me that the basic Sourdough bread is made from only 3 ingredients - Flour, Water and Salt, this neutral base can then be added to, to create wonderful sourdough varieties.

Light Rye Sourdough with Caraway seeds

This is a sensational loaf, it is beautiful with a crumbly vintage cheese and sweet, from the vine, tomatoes

For the Light Rye and Caraway loaf:
Follow the instructions for the basic sourdough here and then substitute 1 cup of the white bread flour for 1 cup of Rye flour plus add 1 teaspoon of Caraway seeds into the flour mix and then sprinkle some on top of the loaf before baking. 

Ingredients for Pumpkin Sourdough with Sunflower Seeds and Sage
(I forgot to put the Sunflower Seeds in the photo)

Sunshine-y yellow Pumpkin Sourdough with Sunflower seeds and sage 

For the Pumpkin, Sunflower seed and Sage loaf:

Follow the instructions for the basic sourdough here with the addition of 120 grams of baked and mashed pumpkin, 12 sage leaves, chopped finely and 1/4 cup of Sunflower seeds, some mixed through the flour before adding other ingredients and the rest sprinkled on top before baking

Fruit and Spice Sourdough Loaf 
Beautiful toasted with butter and honey

For the Fruit and Spice loaf:

Follow the instructions for the basic sourdough here with the addition of 125 grams of sultanas, 1 and1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 40 grams of brown sugar to the flour, mixing well, before adding other ingredients.

So, tell me, what varieties of breads do you make?
Sweet or Savoury?