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Chicken, Mango and Coconut Curry

Thursday, 30 November 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

We recently had a little driving holiday up to Cairns in far north Queensland and loved every minute of it, seeing our daughter and partner was the best part though. Apart from buying some items in Daiso, everything else was about food, we simply can't walk past good food. We bought some beautiful cheeses from Gallo Dairyland, jarred tuna from the Little Tuna company and some gorgeous, fresh North Queensland fruit.

A case of Bowen mango's, a big bag of lychees, a ripper red paw paw, the sweetest, almost coconut-y flavoured pineapple and a hand of sugar bananas. Oh my goodness this fruit is amazing and if we hadn't have driven up we couldn't have bought all of this fruit back with us. We have been enjoying this fresh fruit every day for breakfast and snacks during the day.

I really wanted to try my hand at making a Chicken and Mango curry. Why? Because our son and his girlfriend sometimes buy this as a takeaway from an Indian takeaway place at North Lakes and it is amazing, sweet and delicious, so I found a recipe on line and gave it a whirl, holy cow/chicken, it is sensational. Make it, love it, make it again while the mangoes are still in season.

Ingredients for Chicken, Mango and Coconut Curry, clockwise from top left-
2 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 tin coconut milk, 600 mls chicken stock (I use Massel stock cubes) a good handful of coriander, 6 tablespoon of bought Korma curry paste (or 200 grams of this homemade one), 2 mangoes, a good sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped, 2 onions, 1 finely diced the other quartered, 1 kg chicken breast fillets, 2 tablespoons Kalonji/Nigella seeds and 2 teaspoon ground cumin

Dust both sides of the chicken fillets with 1 teaspoon of turmeric

And sauté in a little oil, in a heavy based, non stick frypan until golden on both sides

Meanwhile in a food processor add the curry paste, ginger, the quartered onion and 1 of the mangoes

Blitz until smoothish 

When chicken is golden brown on both sides, remove to a plate and without wiping out the same frypan, add a little more oil and sauté the diced onion for 5 minutes

Now add the Kalonji seeds, ground cumin and remaining 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric, sauté until fragrant

Now add the gorgeously golden curry paste

And again sauté for 5 minutes 

Add the golden chicken fillets to the frypan

And add the coconut milk and chicken stock, give it a gently but thorough stir and bring to a gentle simmer, pop a lid on and let blip away on medium low heat for 20 minutes

After 20 minutes remove lid, and let sauce reduce and thicken for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the sauce you don't want it too reduced. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken fillets and slice into smallish pieces, return to frypan

Just before serving, add the other mango, cut into small cubes and let heat through for a minute or two

Sprinkle over chopped coriander

And serve with steamed rice and papadums

There are so many amazing flavours in the gorgeously, golden curry and by keeping the chicken fillets whole, during the cooking process, the meat remains tender, there is plenty of sauce, so it goes beautifully with soft fluffy rice to soak up all that delicious goodness.

I used this homemade curry paste but any good Korma style curry paste would be more than sufficient. 

Have a lovely day.


Easy and Delicious, Slow Cooker, Chorizo and Beans

Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Do you want a quick, throw it all in, slow cooker meal that is super easy and delicious, well look no further than todays wonderful recipe. There is about 5 minutes worth of work then the slow cooker does the rest, really, it is that easy. Served with rice or quinoa it will feed an army and it is delicious to boot.

I love Chorizo, it adds such a fantastic smoky flavour and a little heat as well, the other ingredients are simple, every day ones-kidney beans, onion, garlic, green capsicum and dried thyme, combined, they kind of remind me of Feijoada minus the meat and cabbage, it is still a hearty dish and did I mention how easy it is?

Ingredients for Easy and Delicious, Slow Cooker Chorizo and Beans, clockwise from top right-
680 gram of Chorizo (I used 3 x Aldi brand) sliced into rounds, 1 green capsicum, diced, 1 onion, diced, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 3 cans of kidney beans plus the liquid from the can (don't be afraid, it's okay), a good grind of salt and really good grind of pepper, it's the pepper that makes the dish

Throw everything except the chorizo in the bowl of a slow cooker, grind over salt and pepper

Give it a good stir and let cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6

In the last hour of cooking, add the sliced Chorizo, giving it another good stir

Grind over more pepper or to your liking

And serve with steamed rice or quinoa 

Delicious, simple, smoky, filling, what more could you want from dinner?

Have a lovely day.


Just Another Ordinary Day

Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Yesterday was just another ordinary day in my life, up early, work, home, housework, dinner and bed
and it is just how I like it. Give me the simple life any day of the week, except for the work part, my life would be ideal.

There I go again, complaining about work, when really I should be grateful for a stable job, that is close to home, is full of lovely people and doesn't pay too badly. So why am I so disheartened by the thought of having to work for another 16 or more years? I guess it is all in the mindset, I just have to hunker down and settle back into work.

My thoughts often turn to changing occupations, working part time or studying, but I seem to be frozen with fear of change, doing without a steady and reliable income, I guess, in reality, is a good enough reason to stay exactly where I am.

I get through my days at work thinking of a different life where I am able to stay at home and just be a homemaker, sewer of quilts, baker of sourdough bread, maker of yoghurt, a gardener with a prolific garden and can grow anything, doesn't that sound so wonderful? Hard, but worthy work.

There is a lovely quote on Cheryl's blog that goes "Maybe a person's time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food" Frank.A.Clark., which in reality was the way it was, mostly everyone grew and raised their own food, now we work so hard, that we are never home, trying to earn money, so we can put food on the table, I think we have it mixed up.

How do you get through your less that ideal days? Are you living your dream? Are you living an authentic life? How do you do it?

Have a lovely day.

One Year Ago-My Plastic Replacement for November 

What we bought at Daiso

Monday, 27 November 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I am not a big shopper, never have been and probably never will be, I am trying to whittle down my belongings in an attempt to simplify my life and then... Daiso happened. Up until last week, I wasn't even aware of this shop, apparently it's everywhere and is so popular. I can see why, most products sell for $2.80, basically if it isn't marked with a price, it is $2.80.

When we arrived in Cairns to visit our Daughter and Partner last week, I admired her beautiful dinner setting, thinking how unique it was. It looked like hand thrown pottery plates with a wonderful glaze on it. I asked where she had bought it, expecting it to be from some bespoke pottery place at the  Kuranda Markets, she went on to tell me it was from Daiso, to which I answered "What's Daiso?" and "Where can I find it?"

So next day Lovely Hubby and I trundled off to Cairns Central to have a look at this store and pictured below is what we came away with. Not a big shopper, HA! It probably didn't help that Lovely Hubby was with me, you see, he IS the shopper in the relationship and I am the voice of reason, most of the time!

We bought 8 each of the dinner plates and side plates plus 6 of these versatile white bowls. I have had something very similar to these white bowls for umpteen years and all, bar one, had a crack or chip in them, it was time to replace them. 

I spied some seeds for $2 a packet and these silicon wraps which looked really good and Hubby thought the collapsible water container would be ideal for the boat

As you can see the wraps don't quite work just like the picture😞or maybe it's the way I have put them on? They clung well until I put them in the fridge and then the moisture made them come loose from the bowls. You live and learn, don't you?

So, over to you, anyone else a fan of Daiso? What's been your best buy?

Have a lovely day.


Sunday, 26 November 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I normally only do one post a day but I thought it would be fun to show you our lists for today, we are both list writers and I when I got up early this morning, I did just that, wrote a list of jobs to get done today before going back to work (heavy sob) tomorrow.

I had already written my wish list for Lovely Hubby, to vacuum the house and I knew he wanted to wash his truck. The carpet is full of black hair from our cat Ninja, she must be shedding her winter coat, there is black fur everywhere!!!

Wish us luck in tackling these jobs before sundown.

Have a lovely day, again. 

Sunny Side Up Sunday

Hello Dear Reader,

Today I am grateful for our Son, who kept the home fires burning while we were away up north, visiting our Daughter. We came home to a lovely cooked dinner (ahem, another pasta bake, how funny but still delicious) and a pretty clean and tidy home. He is a lovely human being who makes me laugh so hard that I snort, is easy to be around and works hard in his own business. What more could we ask for?

He made a version of Jamie Oliver's Sausage Fusilli

Which is out of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals recipes book, but took him an hour to cook😜

Have a wonderful Sunday.

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 25 November 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Happy Cows munching on green grass

We are just leaving Proserpine for the last leg of our journey back home. It has been a totally enjoyable experience, kind of exciting and very special. We decided to drive up to Cairns to run the new truck in and we loved it. Most of the roads are in good condition although there was a lot of road work being done which slowed us down a bit, but better late than never, I say.

A sugar mill on the way to Cairns

You get to see so much when you drive that of course you miss out on when you fly, I think we will be doing a lot more driving holidays from now on, we are even thinking of getting a mattress made for the back of the truck for simple overnight stops in camping areas along the way.

A sugar cane train

Here's what we bought, spent and ate this week

What we bought
Shopping from Aldi

Shopping from Coles and Nothlings Quality Meats

What we spent
Nothlings Quality Meats-$41.54
Extras bought while in Cairns
Coles-$26.09 +$44.61=groceries for dinners and lunches (not pictured)


What we ate

Sunday-Pasta Bake and steamed Broccoli

Monday-Our Daughter had also made the same Pasta Bake and steamed green beans and broccoli for us when we arrived in Cairns on Monday evening, talk about great minds thinking alike

Tuesday-Lovely Hubby made his famous Char Sui served with steamed rice and choy sum

Wednesday-4 Seasons Chicken Wings with steamed rice and bok choy

Thursday-We all went out to a lovely restaurant in Palm Cove called Lime and Peppers, this is the tasting plate I shared with Hubby. There was nothing on the dessert menu any of us liked so we went home for ice cream and waffle cones

The four of us at Lime and Peppers, see that tree, the restaurant is actually built around it, the trunk of the tree is coming out of the floor

And last night, in Proserpine on the way home, we had a re-run of the Pasta Bake that we had frozen earlier in the week, it made for a quick and easy dinner before going to bed early, love leftovers!

That's a wrap, what was on your family table this week?

Have a lovely day.


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 24 November 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

This weeks 5 frugal things is a bit different as I haven't been at home, living my usual life. We have splurged a bit with two lunches out and one dinner out.We have also done a bit of shopping, which is not the norm for us. We bought things like honey, a bee themed apron and tea towel from The Honey House at Kuranda (so cute) jarred Tuna from "Little Tuna" some new plates, bowls and travel neck pillow from Daiso and chocolates and cheese from Gallo Dairyland. Funny how it's mostly about food!

Amongst all this spending, I also did a few frugal things like-

1. Picked and dried some Rosella's, that our daughter and partner have growing, dried the "petals" in a slow oven and then made gorgeous fruity Rosella tea

2. Aired and spot cleaned our clothing every evening so we didn't need to wash while we were away

3. Packed up and froze some leftovers to have on our overnight stay in Proserpine on the way home

4. Took our water bottles with us everywhere we went, I refuse to buy bottled water and the water in Cairns and divine, fresh and clean, why would you buy it?

5. Bought ice cream and cones instead of going to the expensive ice creamery

Over to you, what frugal fun have you been up to this week?

Have a lovely day


Snap Shots of Cairns, Palm Grove, Atherton Tablelands and Redlynch

Thursday, 23 November 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Today is a simple post full of beautiful photo's of Cairns and surrounding areas. We have been incredibly lucky with the weather, not too hot at all, which is a blessing, it can get so hot and humid here even before summer starts.

Green, is how I would describe this part of Queensland, so very green and gorgeous,such a contrast to the brown flat country we drove though on the way up north. I really feel like we have had such a relaxing mini holiday, spent simply and with family that we love and are so very proud of.

Please enjoy these snapshots of our little north Queensland holiday-

Palm Grove

This is an area that is netted off to protect swimmers from marine stingers

I love these old paper bark trees, the boulevard is lined with them, the restaurants are even built around them, with magnificent trees in the middle of some of the high end restaurants

Redlynch, the suburb where our daughter and partner live, it is about 25 minutes out of Cairns City centre

This is where we took their little Dachshunds for a walk every afternoon, it is so very green and cool

And  a few shots of Cairns City, still plenty of green about the city

And finally, the Atherton Tablelands, where we had a cheese platter lunch at Gallo Dairyland

Such wonderful cheeses

We will be on the road early again tomorrow morning, heading home, I don't really want to leave, we've had such a lovely time. We will be staying in the same cheap and cheerful place in Proserpine that we stayed in on the way up and then the next evening we will be back home. Back to our usual simple, quiet life.

Any readers from Cairns or surrounding area's? 

Have a lovely evening