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Lazy Day Loaf Made in the Thermomix plus The Best Chicken Sandwich Filling

Thursday, 31 August 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I love to make bread and have been doing it for quite a few years, my first attempts were okay, but not exactly what I wanted. The difference for me was my Thermomix, it kneads the bread effortlessly and I find it makes a beautiful light loaf. I have three different recipes that I use that are all really fabulous in their own way. The three different breads I like to make are, a really nutritious sourdough, a beautiful light rye bread, and then there is this light and soft white loaf. You know when you are hankering after soft and delicious (evil) white bread, well this is the recipe for you. It keeps well and slices beautifully, it will withstand a packed lunch and is beautiful toasted.

It has a long proving time, that is why I call it "Lazy Day Loaf"most of the time you are doing very little for this loaf, just give it some time and you will be rewarded with a soft textured crumb with an equally soft and chewy crust.

The temperature and humidity of the day will of course make a difference to the length of time you prove the bread for. When I made this bread on the weekend are were still experiencing days in the low 20C with no humidity, so I was able to leave it prove for about 4 hours. Whatever your weather is doing, just make sure that the dough has doubled (or even tripled) in volume to give you the lovely soft loaf it should be. Yeast does not like to be hurried, just let it do its thing until your dough is puffy and light on its first rise.

Ingredients for Lazy Day Loaf, clockwise from top left-
1 tablespoon instant yeast, 4 cups of bread flour, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 cups warm milk (it should feel not too cold or too hot when you dip a finger in) 1/4 cup extra flour (if needed) 2 tablespoon butter, melted and 2 teaspoon salt

Add the yeast, honey and milk into the bowl of the TM and mix on speed 3 for 2 minutes

Let prove until bubbly

Add bread flour, salt and melted butter

And knead for 6 minutes, the dough should have formed a ball and the sides of the TM bowl will be clean. This is a good indication that you will not need extra flour

Put into a large greased bowl to prove. Cover with a damp tea towel and let prove for up to 4 hours or until puffed and at least doubled in size

Turn out dough onto a floured surface

And stretch into a long oval

Now, starting at the short end roll into a tight log

Tuck the ends under

And put into a greased and floured bread tin

Brush liberally with milk

And let prove for a second time, for about 1 hour or until well risen

Bake in a 200 C oven for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped.

Turn out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.

This loaf sliced beautifully

And if you're wondering what to fill this gorgeous bread with, I would totally recommend this fantastic chicken salad filling

In a bowl, combine one cooked chicken breast, chopped, 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup chopped spring onion, salt and pepper to taste and 6 tablespoons mayonnaise of your choice

Mix well and enjoy this super delicious sandwich on your home made bread

What is your favourite sandwich filling?


Simple Salmon, Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder

Wednesday, 30 August 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

One of the items I bought while on holiday was a terrific Salmon recipe book called "Salmon, Desserts and Friends" by a local author, Ladonna Gunderson in Kethican, Alaska. My usual, go to holiday souvenir, is a tea towel or two, but the only tea towel I could find that was made locally was a white linen one. Now, I am a bit of a messy cook, so a white linen tea towel just wouldn't cut it in my kitchen. So a cook book it was, and what a great little recipe book it is, full of wonderful salmon recipes, both fresh and canned. 

This chowder really caught my eye and it is a beauty. Really simple ingredients and dinner on the table in under one hour, love it!  I loved it so much I made it again on Sunday, when my darling Sister came for lunch, I sent the rest of it home for her to have for her lunches or dinners during her busy week.

Ingredients for Simple Salmon, Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder, clockwise from top left,
450 to 500 grams of skinned salmon fillets, 4 cups of chicken stock (I use massel stock cubes) 1 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of cream, 1 onion, finely chopped, 3 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane, 1 to 2 teaspoons of dill, finely chopped, 1 large carrot, diced, 2 to 3 ribs of celery, diced, 3 cups of potatoes, diced and a can of creamed corn (not pictured) 

Put miropoix of veggies in a large saucepan with 60 grams of melted butter and a splash of oil 

Sauté until soft, then add the chicken stock, salt and pepper and potato cubes. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are nearly cooked through

Add in milk and cream and whole salmon fillets, reduce heat to low and cook until salmon starts to flake (5 to 10 minutes). Gently break up the large pieces of salmon into smaller pieces

Now add the can of creamed corn and dill, heat through for another 5 minutes 

And your good to go

Super easy and good for the soul

What do you buy, as a souvenir, when you go away on holiday?

Have a lovely Wednesday


Baked Greek Meatball Wraps with Amazing Tzatziki and Feta Sauce

Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Todays recipe originally came from Mel over at Mels Kitchen Cafe, it's a fantastic little recipe, made even more easy by the fact that the little meatballs are baked, not fried. So a simple blitz of some ingredients followed by a thorough mix in of the mince, roll them into balls and pop them in the oven to bake. I have tweaked the recipe a bit to suit our tastes, replacing oregano with cumin and coriander to give them more of the flavour we love. I used quite a lean mince for this recipe but next time I will go for a slightly fattier mince for a better texture.

 Apart from that mistake these little meatball wraps are fantastic for a quick and really tasty dinner. There was enough left over for lunch the next day and I think they were even more delicious, as the flavours had mingled longer. 

Ingredients for Baked Meatball Wraps
The meatballs, clockwise from top right-
750 grams of mince (not too lean but not too fatty either) 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped, 1 egg, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped, 3 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane, a good squeeze of lime juice, 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas or equivalent of home cooked chickpeas, 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander and salt and pepper to taste

Put the chickpeas, egg, onion, garlic, parsley, milk, cumin and coriander into a food processor 

And blitz until smooth

To a large bowl, add the chickpea mixture, the mince and the breadcrumbs, use your hands to mix everything together really well.

Shape into about 32 to 34 meatballs, a little smaller than golf ball size, and place on a lined oven tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 200 C  or until cooked through

For the Amazing Tzatziki and Feta Sauce

Ingredients for Amazing Tzatziki and Feta Sauce, clockwise from top right-
2 teaspoons of lime juice, 3/4 cup of crumbled feta, 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane, 1 small Lebanese cucumber, grated, salt and pepper to taste, 1 cup greek yoghurt

Combine all the ingredients

And mix well

Assemble your wrap by laying some lettuce on a warm wrap, pop on about 4 meatballs, smoother with amazing Tzatziki and Feta Sauce and then top with chopped tomato.

So, an easy, casual dinner, quick to make and a joy to eat, I just love it!

Have a lovely Tuesday.


Simple Things

Monday, 28 August 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

It's the simple things in life that usually bring us the most joy, isn't? Give me a home cooked meal and a clean uncluttered home and I am happy. Add in, that the laundry is up to date, everything fits into the dishwasher after dinner and some leftovers are in the fridge and I am ecstatic. Add to that again, that the dogs have been walked before nightfall and dinner is over by 7.00 pm and I am happier than that lady that just won the lottery.

These are the things that are making my heart sing at the moment-

A clean and tidy kitchen, it probably only stays that way for about an hour before I mess it up again, but oh, I do love the feeling of a really clean and tidy kitchen. My bench still looks quite cluttered, but I use most of these utensils and equipment on a daily basis, so it make sense to have them all within arms reach.

Soup for the soul, I have made this soup twice this week and it is just beautiful. It's a Salmon Chowder, full to the brim with veggies, a super tasty and creamy broth and of course salmon. I made it for dinner last Thursday and again yesterday for lunch with my Sister. She took the rest of it home for her lunches and dinners during her busy week ahead.

Sunset while walking the little dogs. The colours of the sunsets have been just gorgeous lately. The days are getting longer and the days, much warmer, which makes me so happy. We saw this beautiful sunset while walking home the other afternoon.

Making a lazy loaf while at home during my holidays. I loved, loved my days at home just pottering. This loaf has a long proving time which gives it a really soft texture and I glaze it with milk to keep the crust nice and soft. Home baked bread makes the home smell wonderful.

Being able to pick and use some produce from the garden. I have a lot of failures but a few wins as well. I pick the red Paw Paws a bit green and let them ripen in the fruit bowl, they are on the small side, but taste really sweet. These are the last of our limes and the tree has started flowering again.

Speaking of wins, our passionfruit vine has been fruiting prolifically again this season, it is just about finished, we have been eating passionfruit everyday on our breakfast fruit salads and I made 5 lovely jars of passionfruit butter on Saturday afternoon. 

What simple things rock your world?

Have a lovely Monday

One Year Ago-Goan Fish Curry


Pork and Red Bean Curd

Sunday, 27 August 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

This is another recipe from my husbands late Grandmother, she was of Chinese decent and cooked an amazing array of dishes, both Asian and European. She used to make this particular dish in her pressure cooker, but I have a real fear of them, so I make mine in my beloved slow cooker. With most of Grans recipes, there weren't too many ingredients in them and non of them were too fussy to make. She was simply an amazing cook. I have been making this recipe for years but I hadn't posted about it until now as I didn't think it would be to everyones taste, my son put me straight though and said, why wouldn't you include it, it's so delicious! It is kind of salty sweet, with fall apart, tender meat and soft and delicious chunks of potato, there is also a wonderful sauce that is just beautiful spooned over steamed rice.

So, as of today I have added this great little recipe to my blog. The main ingredient is red bean curd, of which there are many brands, the one pictured below, is the one we use mostly. You use 4 to 5 cubes of red bean curd and 2 tablespoons of the liquid to 1 kg of pork. I went to buy pork rashes/strips to make this dish, as that is what we usually use, but they were $20 a kg! HOLY COW/PIG that is expensive! So I went with a boned and rolled shoulder at $7.50 a kg and lovely hubby cut it up for me, there was 2 kg of meat so I have frozen the other 1 kg for a later date.

Ingredients for Pork and Red Bean Curd, clockwise from top right-
500 grams of potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, a good grind of white pepper, 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 1 1/2 tablespoons of raw sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of Chinese five spice, 5 cubes of red bean curd plus 2 tablespoon of the liquid from the jar, 1 to 2 spring onions, finely chopped, keep aside about 1/2 cup of the chopped green end to sprinkle over before serving, 1 kg of pork, cut into good size chunks and 1 1/2 cups of water

Add all ingredient to the bowl of the slow cooker

Give it a really good mix and cook on high for 6 hours

Serve with steamed rice and asian greens and a sprinkle of green spring onions

I love, love these types of slow cooker dinners, where you just bung everything in the bowl and push play, no browning of meat or veggies, just nice and simple. I really should try and overcome my fear of pressure cookers, they really cut down cooking time dramatically and the meat is always, fall apart, tender. Grans pressure cooker is still in good nick, they are a really robust piece of machinery and made to last. Do you own and use a pressure cooker? What is your favourite recipe to cook in it?

Have a wonderful Sunday, I hope you have a chance to relax and do what ever brings you joy.

One Year Ago-My Menu/Shopping List


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 26 August 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I have to apologise in advance for the lack of photos of dinners we ate over the last week or so, I seemed to forget to take a photo of most meals we had, it must be holiday brain. Anyway, I really did cook dinner, every night and except for one night, when I was just too mentally and physically exhausted to cook, the boys picked up pizza. That night just happened to be a Tuesday and the pizza place has a 50% off on that night, so the total for 3 pizzas was a little over $20, so I didn't feel too bad not cooking that night. 

I have been cleaning and decluttering like whirlwind over the last week and a bit, ever since we came home from holiday, in fact, it had to be done and really this is the first time I have been at home for any length of time and I have to say, it has been really therapeutic. I have donated lots and lots of stuff that really needed to go. I try and look at each item and ask myself-do I love it, does it bring me joy and do I use it? If the answer is no to any of those, out it goes. I aimed for really easy dinners this past week as I knew I wanted to get a lot done around the home, so most of the dinners took very little time to put together in the afternoon and I used my slow cooker for one meal which stretched to two meals, I love the whole cook once and eat twice way of eating.

So here is what we bought, ate and spent this last week (and a bit)

What we bought
2 kgs of lean mince from Marjax Meats at Rothwell. They happily fill containers I bring in from home

Shopping from Coles.

Shopping from Aldi

Above and below is shopping from Rothwell Discount Fruit Barn

What we spent

Marjax Meats-$22.00
Coles-$14.25 + $40.45 and $19.94 for groceries bought on Tuesday and Wednesday before I did a proper shop (not pictured)
Rothwell Discount Fruit Barn-$52.85

TOTAL-$211.19-it was higher this week but it was for over a week, 11 days to be exact.

What we ate
Tuesday 15th-Easy Chicken and Mushroom, egg noodles and steamed broccoli

Wednesday 16th-Red Bean Curd Pork, steamed basmati rice and asian greens, recipe coming soon

Thursday 17th-Jamies Chilli Con Carne Wraps

Friday 18th-Pan Fried Reef Fish with Apple Walnut Salad and Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Saturday 19th-we had left over Chilli Con Carne Wraps
Sunday 20th-Slow Cooker Get Ahead Spaghetti Sauce with fettuccini
Monday 21st-Oven Baked Potatoes with left over Spaghetti Sauce 
Tuesday 22nd-this was the "I am so over today" Pizza night

Wednesday 23rd-Falafel Meatball Wraps

Thursday 24th-Salmon, Corn and Potato Chowder, I loved it so much I am making it again on the weekend for Sunday lunch with my Sister

Last night was our "On Toast" night-Mexican Beans with a perfect egg on top

Our most favourite meal of the week was the Salmon Corn and Potato Chowder, holy cow, it is so easy and so divine. The recipe came from the cook book pictured below. I bought it when I was in Alaska, I think a local cook book is the perfect holiday souvenir. 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.